In 2008, NRT created the Livestock to Markets program (LTM), which brought the market to the Conservancies. In exchange for conservancies achieving specific targets in conservation, LTM buys cattle directly from the conservancies, purchasing several hundred head at a time from dozens of households. Providing access to markets allows pastoralists to better manage their herd sizes, since they know they can sell animals when they need to at a fair price. And LTM also encourages the herders to bank their cash, bringing mobile banking representatives to market days so herders can open bank accounts with the proceeds from the sale.
Once the cattle are purchased, NRT treks the animals to Lewa Conservancy, a partner NGO. After six weeks of quarantine, the animals move to Ol Pejeta Conservancy, another partner, where they are fattened on grass for 15 months, improving the size and quality of the animals. Finally, the animals are slaughtered at the Ol Pejeta abattoir, and sold as cold carcasses into the Nairobi meat market. By capturing much of the full value of the supply chain, NRT can pay a levy on every animal they buy to the conservancies themselves. This levy funds conservancy investments in wildlife guards, ecotourism lodges and community facilities like clinics and schools.
To date, the program has purchased 7,000 cows, bringing nearly $1.5M of income to pastoralist families and more than $80K of revenue to the conservancies. More than 14,000 people—herders and their families—have benefited from the program. Until 2014, the program was limited in size by the $1M grant that launched it.