• Dr Margaret Syomiti said nutricakes are effective for starving livestock.
• She said the innovation is part of drought mitigation measures the research institute is undertaking to support farmers.
The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation has developed drought-resistant forage species and supplementary blocks for livestock.
This is expected to reduce the deaths of livestock affected by drought.
The blocks, popularly known as nutricakes, are high in energy, protein and vitamins. They are processed from cereal brans, urea, vitamins and molasses.
Dr Margaret Syomiti, the institute director Kalro centre in Naivasha, said nutricakes are effective for starving livestock.
She said the innovation is part of drought mitigation measures the research institute is undertaking to support farmers.
Syomiti, who spoke during a farmers exhibition in Naivasha, said the feed blocks are cheaper than dairy meals sold in agrovets.
“We have redesigned this nutriblock and made sure it’s more nutritious and it’s available in all our centers as part of mitigation measures against the drought,” she said.
On drought, she said it has affected their research in terms of production of semen, adding that they were keen to develop dairy technology.
Lead scientist at the centre David Mbugua said they were advocating farm-grown forage in dealing with the high cost of livestock feed.
He said Kalro had introduced various varieties of drought-resistant sorghum and sweet potatoes which would do well in semi-arid areas and be used as forage.
“We are proposing that 90 per cent of livestock feed come from forage and other supplements and this will bring down the cost of livestock feed,” he said.
On dairy sector, Mbugua said the centre had come up with a cross-breed of Sahiwal and Freshian cows, which has a higher yield of meat and milk.
Zachariah Mwangi said demand from dairy goats is on the rise.
“We have seen a rise in demand for Kalro-bred goats as their milk and meat yield is high,” he said.
Others who spoke were Josephine Mwabiri, who termed record keeping as a critical component in decision making adding that plans were underway to digitize it.