In 2015, the Meru County government introduced an initiative that would improve local beef cattle farmers by offering training on fodder production and training, Nicholas Murimi is one of the beneficiaries of it and he has made Sh375,000 in profit annually by shifting from indigenous breeds to Sahiwal breeds.
The program educates farmers on how to improve feeds quality and quantity, saving them money on commercial feeds.
“Today I know how to make my own fodder which I use to feed my cattle even during long dry spell when there is no rainfall,” said Murimi.
“I realised my indigenous cattle were consuming much food and space yet I could only get Sh600 from milk sales a day out of my five cows and could sell a full grown indigenous bull for Sh20, 000-Sh25, 000 which is less compared to just a one-year-old Sahiwal bull which is Sh60, 000 and above two years is Sh80, 000.”
Besides this, Sahiwal are resistant to tick borne diseases and thrive even in areas with tough conditions where pure exotic breeds find it difficult to cope. They mature faster and produces up to five times the amount of milk indigenous cows produce daily. They are also very fertile and can give birth every 11 months unlike the indigenous breeds which take more than three years.
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Murimi sold his ten indigenous cattle that he bred on his five acres of land because of the decrease in pasture land leading to less income. From the sale he made Sh200, 000 which he topped up and bought three heifers from Kenya Agriculture Research Institute (KARI).
He has now been rearing Sahiwal cattle for four years now and recently sold a bull and heifer for Sh150, 000. A mature Sahiwal bull weighs about 600kg, twice the average weight of local breeds.
Additionaly, Murimi sells pure Sahiwal calves aged one year at Sh40, 000 while crossbreeds go for Sh30,000. His customers comes from Meru town, Machakos and Nairobi counties.