The Nyandarua County government will officially launch the planned cheap artificial insemination (AI) service programme by the end of February this year despite opposition from a section of veterinary practitioners.
County Executive for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Agatha Thuo, said improving the quality of cattle is for the benefit of farmers and nothing will block them from rolling out the programme slated for February 26.
Kenya Veterinary Para-professionals Association Chairman, John Ngigi, had earlier accused the county of planning to institute the programme in disregard of laws governing AIand professionalism.
The paraprofessionals claimed that only Kenya Animal Genetic Resource Centre (KAGRIC) is allowed by law to distribute semen.
Ahead of the roll-out, two veterinary practitioners from 25 wards were recruited, interviewed and approved for the exercise, Thuo said.
“The county recruited 50 competent practitioners to efficiently handle the exercise. They are all certified by the Kenya Veterinary Board. They produced their certificates, which we verified. We want quality; we cannot afford to recruit people who will not give us the desired results,” she said.
Two weeks ago, she said, the county signed a memorandum of understanding with KAGRIC. The memorandum allowed them to distribute liquid nitrogen and semen to the veterinary officers.
“Farmers will be getting the services at their dooor-step at half the current cost of AI. Most of the certified professionals offer the service at a cost of between Sh1,200 and Sh1,500. But under this programme, they will part with Sh700 only,” Thuo said.
The officer assured farmers that upgrading indigenous cattle and sustaining the current high-yielding dairy breed would improve earnings and transform the economy of the region.
Besides the semen being certified by the various government agencies, Thuo said, rogue practitioners who have been extorting money from the unsuspecting farmers will be rooted out.
“It is one way of regulating the administration of this service. Many quacks have infiltrated the field and farmers may not be knowing. Registration and certification would help us drive out those purporting to be professionals,” she told Farmbiz on telephone.
Liquid nitrogen preserves semen under the required conditions to maintain its viability after harvesting from the bull breed.