Livestock farmers in Nakuru County are set to benefit from a Ksh21.5 million breed improvement project.
Through the project dubbed, “Boosting economy and eradicating poverty through livestock farming”, the county livestock department is distributing improved breed bulls, buck goats and dorper rams to farmers.
About Ksh15 million will be spent on buying and distributing bulls to farmers while Ksh6.5 million will go to the purchase of dorper rams and buck goats.
The county government has already distributed 100 breeding bulls and 130 dorper rams and 130 Galla buck goats under the newly-launched breeding programme, in the first phase.
The Sahiwal and Boran bulls and dorper rams were given to 200 farmers’ groups to help upgrade their local animals with the aim of increasing beef production in the lower zones of Rongai and Subukia sub-counties, where livestock farming is dominant.
County agriculture and livestock chief officer, Enos Amuyunzu, said the bulls and rams would be managed and cared for through farmers’ groups within wards.
“It becomes easier for the county to actualise such projects through groups as opposed to working with individual farmers. This is because it is easier to hold groups accountable,” he said.
Dr Amuyunzu added that the project would also provide a good market for the improved livestock breeds for the annual Nakuru County goat auction and other markets.
Nakuru County has since 2018 been organising an annual goat auction day in Rongai, where livestock farmers through organised groups get a platform to sell their animals.
Similar to the famous Kimalel Goat Auction, it has enabled farmers in the county reap big from their hard work by selling thousands of livestock.
Speaking during the handing over of the bulls in Rongai, the Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries CECM, Dr Immaculate Maina, urged the residents to take good care of the animals.
“As a department, we will provide training on animal management and conduct frequent follow-ups to ensure that they serve their purpose in breed improvement, providing income, and food and nutrition security,” she said.
The county has also set aside Ksh100,000 for vaccination of the newly-acquired animals against East Coast Fever (ECF).
Farmers will also receive free slat blocks, courtesy of the county government
Mr John Wanyoike, the chairman of Kamukunji Farmers Union, said that the bulls would enable farmers to improve their breeds.
“We have relied on local bulls for so long and the output has not been so good because we have been getting low quality livestock, which are very vulnerable to diseases attacks,” he said.
“Our main focus is to rear livestock for the market and with the new bulls we can be assured that we will get good quality calves, which can give us good money once they mature.”
Ms Esther Kibet, a livestock farmer in Subukia, said the county bulls would save farmers the burden of having to pay for breeding.
“Whenever my cows wanted to mate I had to pay Ksh500 for each to the bull owner. With these free bulls, the money can be used in buying feeds,” she said.