- Each area will get 400 pure female Galla goats and 50 breeding bucks to improve their local breeds and increase production.
- The Galla goats take around six months to mature and attain market price, compared to local breeds that take up to one year.
Small-scale livestock keepers in Taita Taveta county are set to benefit from a donation of more than 2,250 hybrid Galla goats.
The donation comes from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Dr Barack Okoba, FAO's Lead, Resilient Food and Livelihood System sub-programme on Thursday said they are targeting livestock keepers in farmers’ field schools across the county to boost animal production, nutrition and food security.
Speaking while launching the distribution at Mwakiki field school, Dr Okoba said at least 2,000 vulnerable farmers will benefit from drought-resistant goats.
According to a local farmer a mature Galla goat can fetch up to Sh25, 000 in the local market.
He said the project is meant to increase agricultural productivity and profitability in the devolved unit.
The agency has marked farmer field schools in Mwakiki, Mraru, Tausa, Ndome, Ndilidau, Mata, Challa and Chumvini as the areas to benefit.
Each area will get 400 pure female Galla goats and 50 breeding bucks to improve their local breeds and increase production.
He challenged beneficiaries to take advantage of the initiative saying the resilient Galla goats are able to survive drought, yield more and have a higher resistance to diseases.
The Galla goats, he said, take around six months to mature and attain market price, compared to local breeds that take up to one year.
"Galla goats mature faster and give birth twice a year. They will bring faster income hence improve livelihoods in the region,” Dr Okoba said.
He lauded the county government for supporting FAO’s programmes on resilience projects to enhance mitigation against drought and improve farmers' livelihoods.
Further, he said hundreds of beneficiaries in Farmer Fields Schools (FFS) have been trained in areas of commercialisation of pasture, conservation, poultry farming and kitchen garden among other modern ways of enhancing food security and income.
“Farmers have benefitted from our programmes, which include capacity building of farmers, financial literacy, provision of drought tolerant crops and seeds among others as a way to diversify food production,” Dr Okoba said.
FAO is banking on the FFS methodology, to boost food production in the region while using new strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
FFS, an agricultural peer learning methodology, is used to extend knowledge and technology where groups of 25-30 farmers meet for field learning sessions under the guidance of a trained facilitator.
Taita Taveta county Deputy Governor Christine Kilalo noted that the initiative will address animal breed, food security and improve economic livelihoods.
“In the wake of the strong effects of climate change, we have to find a way of building resilience. These goats are suitable for our region and we are encouraging farmers to embrace such breeds,” she said.
"Farmers please adopt climate-smart agriculture value chain programmes that will help provide a source of food and income and in the process improve your standards of living."
Genora Mwasi, a beneficiary lauded the initiative saying the fast-maturing goats will not only help farmers increase their income but also improve their nutrition.
“The trainers said that goat milk has a high nutritional value. One goat can produce up to two litres of milk and that will help us live a healthy life,” the Mraru FFS team leader said.
She asked the agriculture department to help the farmers establish a good market for their livestock where they can attract good prices in a competitive market.
David Mwambi, another beneficiary noted that the sale of goats will enable him to get school fees for his children.
The failed rain season, he said had scattered his hope of getting a harvest that would enable him to pay school fees, further noting that the project will soon turn into a game changer.
“It is a great project that will enable us to breed goats that mature faster. I hope to get school fees for my children when I start selling,” he said.
He said rearing goats is cheaper compared to other livestock, owing to their resistance to harsh weather and gastro-intestinal parasites and infectious diseases.