The Kenya Animal Genetic Resources Centre (KAGRC) will be holding a farmer’s open day on 25th May, 2018 at KAGRC grounds Lower Kabete beginning at 9:00am to train local cattle farmers on how to improve their production at a time when the quantity of milk delivered to processors dropped by 17.4 per cent from 648.2m liters in 2016 to 535.7m liters last year.
“The objective of the field day is to provide an open forum for interaction between breeders; KAGRC Agents, farmers, contracted farms, AI Service providers, and stakeholders in the livestock sector and at the same time get hands on information on KAGRC bulls and learn more on appropriate breeding tools for genetic improvement of their animals hence improved production,” said Dr. David Kios, the Managing Director, KAGRC.
The training will be free of charge with the theme of the day being “enhancing livestock productivity through cutting edge technologies in animal genetics for food and nutrition security”
In this, farmers will have a chance to see for themselves the champion bulls that have sired the best calves for both milk and beef production.
The farmers will also learn how to select the best bull for their cows at the time of servicing it.
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KAGRC has various bulls such as Friesians, Guernsey, Jersey, Sahiwal and Charolais used for breeding. The semen from these hybrid breeds will be on sale to farmers during the farmers’ field day at Sh400 per 0.5ml.
According to the resources center, smallholder cattle farmers in Kenya are faced persistent challenges such as low milk production due to poor techniques in their methods of production.
More than 60 per cent of farmers in the country for instance service their cows with bulls when on heat with less than 30 per cent adopting artificial insemination services yet AI reduces chances of diseases like contagious abortion and vibriosis.
There are 17,417,824 cattle in Kenya in a sector that supports more than four million people according to the Kenya Dairy Board, the regulator and developer of the dairy industry in Kenya.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that cattle the most important source of meat in Kenya supplying about 80 per cent of Kenya’s meat with small scale farmers contributing roughly 72 per cent of the total production.
Last year, the number of cattle and calves slaughtered in slaughterhouses rose by 5.3 per cent from 2.46m in 2016 to 2.59m in 2017 according to the 2018 economic survey released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in April.