In southern Somalia and northeastern Kenya, cattle,goats.sheeps and camels are an important economic asset, especially among pastoral and agro pastoral livelihood groups. They provide sources of livelihood through milk and meat production and market sales. Over the past decade, the importance of the cattle trade among these food economy groups has been increasing due to the high value of cattle and the ever increasing seasonal demand for slaughtering and restocking in other parts of Kenya and Tanzania.
Livestock production is a significant part of the town’s economy. Between 2005 and 2007, Garissa cattle producers earned over 1.8 billion shillings in sales in domestic and overseas markets. Construction on a new abattoir also began in October 2007. In terms of livestock imports, most of Garissa’s cattle comes from cross-border trade between Somali livestock merchants.
Livestock is a crucial source of financial capital for the rural poor. The arid and semi arid lands are home to nearly 70% of the national herd with an estimated value of Kenya shillings 70 billion. For many, it is the only form of savings available. Therefore, its efficient production and marketing is essential for sustaining pastoral livelihoods. The existing Garissa livestock market in Garissa town,Garissa county covers a total area of approximately 10 acres. It provides a range of employment and income-earning opportunities to the resident of not only Garissa county but the entire northern region.