• The technologies include development of improved breeds and drought-tolerant forages.
• Eighty per cent of the beef in Kenya is produced from arid and semi-arid areas.
Scientists at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation have urged youth to adopt new technologies to improve beef production.
Dr Elkana Nyambati, a principal research scientist at Kalro and the assistant director in charge of livestock production, said beef production is one of the most important value chains in the livestock sector.
“About 80 per cent of beef in Kenya is produced from arid and semi-arid areas but there is a big challenge in terms of producing beef animals. Some of the main challenges include inadequate quantity and quality of feed and lack of suitable breeds,” he said.
He spoke to the Star during a field visit to Tana River county on the various livestock research technologies being implemented in the coastal region.
Nyambati said Kalro's Beef Research Institute and the Arid and Rangeland Research Institute are researching how to enhance beef production technologies.
He said the technologies include development of improved breeds and drought-tolerant forages.
“We are working in partnership with the University of Nairobi to show farmers how they can produce these high yielding forages, conserve them in the form of silage and formulating rations to fatten the animals in a short time,” the researcher said.
He said the demand for beef locally is about 700 metric tonnes annually but the country is not able to meet it.
“This is due to lack of improved breeds, lack of quality feed and not being able to conserve feed when they are in plenty and availing them during the dry season. This means we are not able to meet the demand," Nyambati said.
"There are a lot of opportunities for the youth in the beef producing industry. They can put the animals in feeding lots and formulate feeds to fatten the animals to market weight. They can also engage in hay production and silage making and make money.”
Tana River director of livestock production Nzioka Wambua said the county is changing the modalities of keeping livestock.
He said there is a lot of treasure in Tana River and the county is strategically placed near the Port of Mombasa which can be utilised for export of quality beef.
“We also have large tracts of land that can be used for beef production. We want to utilise this opportunity by producing disease-free quality beef. We have a perennial river and there is water 365 days,” Wambua said.
“They can also fatten animals and sell to the ready market in Kilifi, Mombasa, Lamu and Nairobi Counties."
Edited by A.N