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October 21, 2018

Farmers blame ‘poor’ AI services for infertile cows

Mzee Laban Lihungu with his dairy cow at his farm in Kabras, Kakamega / FILE
Mzee Laban Lihungu with his dairy cow at his farm in Kabras, Kakamega / FILE

Farmers in Kakamega have accused the county of poor artificial insemination services, following increased cases of infertility in their animals and death of calves.

The farmers say veterinary officers have failed to offer a solution, despite repeated complaints.

They spoke at Bukura Agricultural Training Centre on Friday during a meeting with experts from the Integrated Agricultural Research for Development.

The Kalro team is sponsored by the USAid to establish the reasons behind the infertility in dairy cattle. They will carry out the research for two years.

The county government subsidised AI services to assist farmers upgrade their stocks. The subsidised semen goes for Sh700 instead of Sh1,500.

The farmers said the county veterinary officers could be using expired semen to inseminate their animals.

However, county director of veterinary services Jared Mulala absolved his officers from blame.

He said the problem was caused mainly by poor management of the animals by farmers.

Mulala cited inadequate feeding and handling of the animals and their calves.

The director, however, welcomed the USAid-funded team in the county.

He said the free service the experts will give will improve dairy farming.

The livestock infertility is hurting the county’s dairy programmes, which are meant to help residents diversify from overreliance on sugarcane farming.

The county has in the last three years been giving dairy cows to select farmers under its one-cow initiative.

The programme is meant to enhance milk production within the county, as the government plans to establish a multibillion-shilling milk processing plant in Malava subcounty, starting this financial year.

Germany’s GIZ has already established a milk processing plant at the Bukura Agricultural College to promote dairy farming in Kakamega.

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