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Labot Farm introduces quality corriedale sheep breeds

Labot Breeding Farm in Lelan Ward has taken a significant step forward towards improving sheep breeds with the introduction of pure Corriedale sheep.

The farm, situated in Marakwet East Sub County, recently received 20 ewes and four pure Corriedale rams.

Elgeyo County Governor Wisley Rotich expressed his enthusiasm for this development during a special event at the farm, where he highlighted the critical need for enhancing the quality of sheep breeds in the region.

Governor Rotich emphasised that local farmers had been relying on recycled breeding rams, which had led to the production of undersized sheep.

“If you look around, you will see that our sheep will be sold for as little as Sh3000. This should change. You should sell your sheep for as much as Sh30,000. It is possible,” he said, motivating local farmers to aspire for higher returns.

The Labot breeding farm plays a pivotal role in livestock improvement, focusing on producing sheep for wool and mutton. This endeavour is aimed at benefiting farmers across the larger Elgeyo Marakwet region.

Livestock Chief Officer Robert Lagat spoke about the department’s strategic decision to promote Corriedale sheep. He cited their quick maturity and propensity to twin under proper management as key attributes.

“Corriedale ewes have good maternal qualities. They are easy-care animals and excellent mothers with high fertility that exceeds 100 per cent. Their wool is bright, bulky, and soft-handling, which can fetch good earnings, while a mature ram can weigh up to 105 kilogrammes,” he explained.

The fast maturity of these breeds is expected to yield quick returns for local farmers.

The Corriedale sheep, which were procured at a cost of Sh652,000, are set to improve the sheep breeds in several wards, including Kapyego, Sengwer, Moiben-Kuserwo, Embobut-Embolot, Kabiemit, Metkei, Chepkorio, Kaptarakwa, Cherangany-Chebororwa, and Lelan, which have been identified as having a conducive environment for Corriedale production, according to Chief Officer Lagat.

“We will sell breeding rams and ewes from our farm at affordable rates. We want to improve sheep production and weed out the current breeds that have been affected by inbreeding,” he noted.

Each of the four rams can serve up to 30 ewes, enhancing the breeding capacity of the farm significantly.

Governor Rotich envisions Labot becoming a model breeding farm, not only producing high-value breeds but also offering training to farmers.

“We have today changed the face of Labot Farm. The new high-value breeds will be a game changer in sheep production in this region. We are going to make Labot a model farm where farmers from all over our county will come to train. We also target those from other counties,” added the governor.

Governor Rotich also underscored the importance of diversification in sheep production, encouraging farmers to derive double benefits from their sheep.

“They benefit from the wool and later sell the sheep,” he said, highlighting the potential for additional income streams.

Lelan Ward Member of County Assembly (MCA) Priscilla Kurgat echoed the governor’s sentiments, urging farmers to consider keeping high-quality sheep breeds that can fetch higher prices in the market.

The introduction of pure Corriedale sheep breeds at Labot Breeding Farm marks a significant milestone in the quest to enhance sheep production in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

By Rennish Okong’o

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