Introduction of improved livestock breeding programmes through artificial insemination will mitigate against poverty among low-income households, says Kitui County Governor Charity Ngilu.
The County targets 250,000 livestock to be served through artificial insemination in efforts geared towards breeding livestock that is resilient to the harsh climatic conditions in the semi-arid region.
Ngilu said the county is embarking on an ambitious livestock production programme as an important source of income for the majority of households in the county.
The Governor disclosed that the plan will involve breeding through artificial insemination to help get better quality cattle for beef and dairy production, and value addition for livestock products.
Addressing administrators and officers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Livestock Development at Kitui stadium, Ngilu said she will make the county competitive in the livestock sector by investing in a trucking programme that will ferry livestock from Kitui to the markets away.
Our county’s potential in reaping maximum benefits from livestock production is way below average. That’s why we are meeting here to launch this livestock multiplication programme through synchronized artificial insemination to identify the roles that each one of us is going to play, she said.
She said the county will embrace positive changes in the way farmers do agriculture and livestock production to boost the sector.
The county chief noted that over 80 per cent of the people of Kitui rely on agricultural activities for their families’ survival but decried little support the sector had received in the past.
Noting the sector’s contribution of 40 per cent to the county’s GDP and the 25 per cent the agricultural sector labour force, the governor said the gains would upsurge hugely and benefit more households in the county if well sustained.
Ngilu was scheduled to launch the initiative at Mbitini Market in Kitui Rural on Wednesday, with the exercise kicking off in all other sub-counties in coming days.
The move will begin the actualization of the pledge by the governor to create wealth for Kitui people by improving their cattle so that they can compete on equal basis or even better at the market place, with cattle from other parts of Kenya.
The project aims at changing the traditional livestock kept in Kitui by locally producing cross-breeds of Friesian, Guernsey, Jersey, Ayrshire Brown Swiss, Boran and Sahiwal among others that can cope with the county’s climatic conditions.
Agriculture and Water County Executive Mr. Emmanuel Kisangau says the county is targeting 250,000 cattle on the whole, with a focus to adding the herds by 60,000 in May 2019.
The county is using a synchronization method that manipulates a herds’ ovulation cycle and induces a large number of females to be on heat in a short predetermined time. When the manipulation is triggered, it starts a new follicular wave where mass artificial insemination can be administered to hundreds of cows that are ready for conception.
The main objective of the programme is to produce both pure and cross breed dairy animals from the local dairy herd and the local indigenous Zebu and Boran cattle herds, said Kisangau.
Source: Kenya News Agency