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Boosting livestock farming in the Kerio Valley

The  Elgeyo Marakwet County has received 100 doses of new genetics to improve livestock breeds, boost milk, and beef production in the arid Kerio Valley.

According  to the  Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Linah Kilimo, the genetics sourced from the Kenya Animal and Resource Centre (KAGRC) will go a long way in improving the  livelihoods of farmers living along the  Kerio  Valley.

Kilimo  said according to the experts, the sahiwals and boran breeds will adapt well along the  valley due to their resistance to diseases and high feed conversion leading to a high growth  rate.

The  CAS said there was a lot of in breeding of cows in the county and especially along the  valley leading to low quality animal breeds, which also fetch low prices in the market.

“It is our hope that farmers will embrace artificial insemination to enable them sell their  livestock at higher prices and increase earnings for their families,” she said.

Speaking  when he received the semen doses in his office in Iten on Tuesday, the Deputy Governor, Wesley  Rotich said the county had provided  21,000 inseminations to livestock  within the county, which mostly  went to the highlands, saying they were yet to get the right genetics  for  the Kerio Valley.

Rotich  said in the bid to improve the livestock sector, the county had hired one artificial inseminator for each of the county’s 20 wards.

However, Kilimo said the staff were not enough given that the wards were vast saying KAGRC had  promised to further train two youth free of charge to supplement those hired by the county.

“However for one to be trained, he/she must be qualified in animal husbandry or veterinary  services,” the CAS said.

She  called KCSE school leavers qualified to train in the veterinary sector to join agricultural training colleges.saying they can employ themselves given that there are still very few vets in the county where majority practice livestock farming.

Kilimo  advised farmers to embrace zero grazing if they are to succeed with the new breeds, saying it is easier to notice when the cow requires to be served during zero grazing than when it is left to roam around.

By  Alice  Wanjiru

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