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KALRO calls on farmers to embrace climate smart agriculture

The Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) is calling on farmers to embrace climate smart agriculture to mitigate the effects of climate change that has now adversely affected crops and livestock in the country.

Naivasha Dairy Research Institute (DRI) Director, Dr. Margret Syomiti said KALRO through its continuous research has come up with various innovations meant to help farmers to improve their productivity in the face of climate change.

“We endeavour to sensitize farmers on these technologies we innovate so that the technology can help them improve efficiency in their farming activities,” Syomiti said.

To this end, she revealed that KALRO had come up with a low cost cattle feed supplement nutri-block which they have nicknamed nutri cake for the livestock which has proteins, minerals and all the other food nutrients required by the animals in order to help farmers keep their animals healthy and productive during a dry spell.

Syomiti was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a farmers’ field day held at Naivasha Dairy Research Institute (DRI).

It was organized to coincide with KALRO’s first scientific conference so that farmers can also meet various experts during the open day.

“The block helps the animal to digest the fodder given to it properly in order to improve its nutrition and productivity,” she said.

Syomiti explained that in this era of climate change, the livestock only gets proper nutrition only for the first three months when it rains then after that the nutritional value of the fodder starts going down and this calls for a nutritional supplement to keep the livestock healthy.

“That is why we came up with the nutri-cake to help improve nutrition of the ruminants for better productivity,” she said adding that the nutri-block is loved by the animals and much cheaper than other feed supplements on the market.

She noted a mature cow is given only 500grams of the nutri-cake per day which is a very small quantity as compared to the amount given from the other supplements in the market which makes it very affordable to the farmer in the face of the rising cost of living.

A researcher and scientist at the Dairy Research Institute (DRI) in Naivasha Mr. David Mbugua on his part said to alleviate the effects of climate change for farmers, they had innovated new ways of growing, preparing and storage of nutritional fodder to help the farmer feed his animals during drought.

He also observed that they had come up with a breed that is a cross between the Friesian breed of cattle and the Sahiwal breed in order to get a breed that is adaptable to the arid and semi-arid parts of the country and some parts of Naivasha.

“This breed combines the best in the two breeds in terms of milk longevity, butter-fat content and being hardy among other characteristics,” he said.

By Mabel Keya – Shikuku

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