•Resilient galla goat matures and attains market weight at around six months, while local breeds take at least a year.
• Governor urges farmers to engage in more climate-smart activities to help them get more and faster cash for their families.
The West Pokot government has donated 1,095 hybrid galla goats to 600 farmers to improve their breeds.
The hardy, fast-maturing goats are only to be used for breeding. The aim is to eventually eliminate local breeds.
Almost 3,000 goats have been donated since the programme was initiated in conjunction with the Kenya Smart Agriculture Project.
Galla goats, also known as Somali or Boran goats, are indigenous to the arid and semi-arid regions of northern Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti. They are kept mainly for meat, although they also produce milk.
They are hardy, used to drought and mature quickly, attaining market weight in about six months. Local breeds take about a year before they can be marketed.
Governor John Longyangapuo handed the goats over to farmers in 18 common interest groups.
He said the programme aims at improving breeds to help farmers earn more and enhance food security in the region.
The county boss encouraged farmers to engage in more climate-smart activities to get more cash faster to support their families.
“We have tried as a county to fight malnutrition, hunger, poverty and improve food security. We now need to focus on job creation and improving livelihoods,” he said.
The goats were bought from Wajir county from the farmers who breed them and all the goats were vaccinated against diseases before they were donated to West Pokot farmers for breeding.
Farmers from Alale, Sekerr, Endugh, Sook, and Lomut wards received goats.
Kenya Smart Agriculture coordinator Philip Tingáa warned the groups against selling or slaughtering the Galla goats, saying they are meant for breeding purposes only.
“The goats are only to be used as `seed’. Let’s keep the goats well so in future we totally eradicate indigenous breeds,” he said.
"When the goats are mature, they will be sold at Sh6,000 compared to the local smaller breeds that fetch Sh3,000,” Ting’aa said.
Farmer Moses Mnangát said resilient Galla goats are able to survive drought, yield more milk and have a higher resistance to opportunistic diseases that kill local goats due to weak immunity.