The cost of semen in Kenya will go down by half following the government’s move to procure four new liquid tankers to transport and store the product.
The tankers with a capacity of 2,000 liters each will be imported from Italy and will supplement the current capacity of the 5,000 liter tanker at the Kenya Animal Genetics Center (KAGRC). The increased volumes will help farmers improve their breeds and boost the population of cattle which currently stands at 18.8m.
KAGRC is the center that engages in the production, preservation, distribution and conservation of cattle genetic material as well as rearing of breeding bulls of superior genetics for provision of high quality disease free semen to meet national demand and for export.
Currently, farmers are buying semen at Sh250 per straw from KAGRC in Kabete, however, since not all farmers can visit the center the cost varies from region to region and may go high to Sh1500 per dose.
The new tankers will be based in Sotik, Kirinyaga, and Kitale and will reduce the time taken by farmers to access quality semen for their herds.
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Semen collected from superior bulls are used in artificial insemination, a technique in which sperm collected is processed, stored and manually introduced into the female reproductive tract when cows are on heat for the purposes of conception.
Farmers using sexed semen get calves with the exact sex of a cow a farmer needs with a near 100 per cent accuracy, this makes it easier for farmers to manage breeding.
According to a 2017 research article titled: Artificial insemination: A tool to improve livestock Productivity” published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, AI speeds up genetic progress, reduces the risk of disease transmission and expands the number of animals that can be bred from a superior parent.