Help to improve livestock breeds

Help to improve livestock breeds FOR A COUNTRY which relies on agriculture and livestock production as its economic mainstay, the level of support for the sector from the government leaves a lot to be desired. Since the 1990s, the support has dwindled even as the consumer population in Kenya shot up.


  At one point, the government stopped engaging the critical services of agriculture extension officers.

It also scrapped the provision of artificial insemination services, perhaps in the false belief that the private sector would fill the vacuum. What followed was deterioration of breeds as peasant farmers widely relied on natural methods that are prone to transmission of diseases. However, Livestock Development minister Mohammed Kuti has now said the government would reinstate the service. He said the decision was informed by the need to boost milk production, which has suffered as a result of poor breeding methods.

Private players, he said, have been exploiting farmers by charging as high as US$79 per dose of semen. We believe the return of AI services will be critical to raising the standard of living of the poor. While during the Kanu rule politicians had run down Kenya Cooperative Creameries (now known as New KCC) things have changed drastically. Dairy farming is once more a major money-spinner, and the government's decision could not Diary cow from Nyeri District, Kenya have come at a better time.

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