Enhancing Livestock Breeds In Kenya

The county government of Nakuru has allocated Ksh. 28 million in the current financial year to improve livestock breeds for greater yields.Improving the efficiency of domestic breeds can be achieved by adding foreign ones.

For instance, enhanced dairy cattle in Kenya accounted for 23 percent of the total population of cattle and 75 percent of dairy cattle in eastern and southern Africa.

Several countries remain far behind, such as Uganda and Ethiopia; developed breeds account for only 3 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

Because of the low exchange of breeding animals and resources and the limited access to and use of innovations such as artificial insemination, livestock populations remain largely inbred.

For example, high inbreeding levels in Kenya have also contributed to decreased dairy production from 6-7 liters per day to only 3 liters. It will be necessary to implement breeding techniques, such as cross breeding, to improve dairy productivity, although this will need to be funded in order to allow farmers to handle this increased productivity.

Extension programs are already stressed in many situations, but will be essential to handling better breeds for smallholders.

Dr. Enos Amuyunzu, Chief Livestock and Fisheries Officer, said the crossbreeding would raise meat standard rates, increased milk production and tolerance to diseases.

He talked today during a vaccination exercise in Rongai Sub County that saw the vaccination of about 2,000 cattle.

He said that the county’s free vaccine activities were to help farmers cut costs and maintain safe livestock that would see them raise their profits while eradicating poverty and boosting the economy.

Irene Chebichi, MCA Soin Ward, urged citizens to raise awareness about the exercise in their neighbourhoods, be alert and record cases of diseases that crop in.

Shadrach Kibon, chairman of Majani Mingi cattle dip, said he was grateful to the ministry for their attempts to help eliminate outbreaks and was confident that the diseases can be managed via the program.

The vaccination program is expected to continue from this month through March 2020 with a budgetary allocation of Ksh 70 million compared to Ksh 50 million in the year before.