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February 22, 2018

Kenya to benefit from UK's Sh500 million livestock research fund

A file photo of livestock in Kajiado
A file photo of livestock in Kajiado

Kenya is among countries that will benefit from close to Sh500 million fund from the UK.

The recent prolonged drought in Kenya saw livestock farmers lose nearly half of the population of their cattle.

Many are now concentrating on sheep and goats as they are more tolerant to drought and fetch better market prices than cattle.

Livestock diseases is another big challenge, forcing them to spend money on vaccines which is expensive.

This coupled with poor veterinary services has led to poor productivity of livestock yet this is an important source of food and livelihood for many.

Research to improve the health in Kenya and other countries in sub-Sahara has received a Sh500 million boost from the UK government.

According to a statement from the International Livestock Research Institute, this will enable scientists to tackle the challenges faced by livestock farmers in Africa.

Prof. Appolinaire Djikeng the director of the centre said the research will help improve the productivity of livestock breeds that are available to small-holder farmers in Africa and enhance the animals' resilience and resistance to diseases.

The funding will support research in the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, which is a joint venture between the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya and the University of Edinburgh and Scotland Rural College.

Statistics from the institute shows that nearly 900 million poor people rely on livestock for their livelihoods and the loss of animals through disease devastates people’s lives.

Eleanor Riley from University of Edinburgh said livestock farming offers a route out of poverty in many parts of the world and can also help to provide protein nutrition for children, which is key for child development and lifelong health.

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