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KVDA initiative to improve traditional cow breeds in Samburu

In a bid to reduce livestock losses due to drought the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) has continued to promote the Sahiwal cattle breed to improve traditional herds in Samburu County.

KVDA Samburu manager Patrick Thuranira said the authority launched this ambitious project in 2014 at Nomotio farm on the outskirts of Maralal town with the main aim of breeding Sahiwal cows to improve local herds.

He noted that the project has positively impacted the local community since the Sahiwal is fast maturing and produces milk and meat in both quality and quantity and farmers can sell their mature Sahiwal cows and the revenue generated develops their other livelihoods.

“The Sahiwal breed is known to be highly tolerant to semi-arid and arid conditions producing high-quality milk and meat even with limited resources making it superior to traditional breeds,” he said.

Thuranira said that at the moment there are 58 bulls and heifers at Nomotio farm and every year KVDA auctions about 10 to 12 Sahiwal bulls and heifers that are about 2 years old to farmers at subsidized prices.

“After valuation in terms of kilograms, we sell a bull or heifer between Sh 60,000 to Sh 75,000 but if we were to sell with the market rates, one cow would fetch between Sh 120,000 to Sh 150,000.”

“We mostly auction bulls because one bull can serve several heifers in a community.” He said.

He also cited insecurity as a major challenge on the farm since armed cattle rustlers raid the farm and drive away with the animals.

“Even though the animal recovery rate is high cattle rustling is a major challenge but we have seen a reduction in the last six months due to the ongoing security operation in the area.” He said.

The coloration of the Sahiwal breed at Nomotio farm is brownish red and they are a breed of zebu cow named after an area in Punjab, Pakistan.

By Robert Githu

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