Charolais can earn farmers over Sh0.5 million in two years

Beef farmers, more-so those in dry areas, can earn more than half a million shillings from one cow in two years with the highly-harsh climate tolerate Charolais livestock breed.

Charolais, which originates from France, has a high conversion rate of feeds into muscles is highly efficient despite their quality.

Livestock farmers in the country, especially dry regions rear hundreds of indigenous cattle like Borana for beef. But when drought descends, massive losses are witnessed, with the 2008-2011 spell costing the country at least Sh56.1 billion, according to the Post Disaster Needs Assessment.

Rearing a few of Charolais is profitable for farmers since the breed easily feeds on most kinds of grass including poor quality before converting it for body building.

Whilst mature Borana bulls attain between 500kg and 800kgs in three to three and half months, Charolais bull can hit up to 1500kg in two years.

The Sh0.6 million bull

With about 60 per cent to 40 per cent beef carcass ratio, a farmer can realise more than 800kg from a 1500kg bull for export.

During 2015 East African Growers Council at Kabarak University, a Charolais bull was auctioned at Sh600,00.

But if one sells this breed to local slaughter house, they can fetch more than Sh1 million given that carcass is not separated from the meat for butcheries. Meat is sold at about Sh400.

The Kenya Department of Veterinary Services offers artificial insemination at Sh1000.

Rich new market

On average, Kenya exports 500 tonnes of cattle, lambs and goats meat daily. But this is not the optimum export as demand for beef increases globally.

Outside the traditional European Union, more other markets such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Malaysia, among others are emerging.

This is an opportunity for livestock holder farmers who can raise a few high yielding Charolais, which will be properly fed to give good returns instead of the big, but low yielding herds.

 The State agency has a slaughter capacity of 1,000 for large animals like cows and 1,500 for small one such as goats and lambs.

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