West Pokot county has started a programme to improve yields and reduce cattle rustling.
The county has distributed 600 Sahiwal bulls and at least 2,000 Gala goats for cross-breeding to increase meat and milk production.
The programme was launched yesterday by Governor John Lonyangapuo in Kasei village. “We have distributed 30 Sahiwal bulls and 100 Gala goats per ward,” he said.
“Cattle rustling has been encouraged by the local breeds that most of our farmers have. The improved breeds will help eradicate the vice since the animals will not be able to walk long distances.”
Lonyangapuo said in 10 years residents will only have the new breeds and they will reap huge profits. “We shall be distributing the bulls and goats each year until we fully eradicate zebu breeds,” he said.
Zebu cattle are heat tolerant, parasite and disease resistance and hardy.
The governor said the community had helped them to identify serious farmers.
“We have identified farmers who can take good care of their animals even during the dry spell. We don’t want to lose them since we have invested heavily in the animals. They will have full ownership of the animals after five years,” he said.
Lonyangapuo said farmers have not made profits from their livestock, despite their heavy investment. Instead they are exploited by middlemen who buy their products at throwaway prices, he said.
Lonyangapuo said his administration wants to ensure the county has enough animals for meat production before the Nasukuta meat processing plant becomes operational.
“Currently, a goat is sold at between Sh5,000 and Sh8,000, but when we improve our breeds and with the availability of a ready market we shall sell them at between Sh10,000 and Sh20,000,” he said.
Lonyangapuo urged neighbouring counties to adopt the programme to end cattle rustling.
“My government encourages sharing of resources and those bordering neighbouring counties should not be mean. Let’s cross-breed our animals so we can stay in peace and harmony,” he said.
Farmer Eliud Tuliandale said the programme will help increase livestock prices.
“We sell our animals to brokers at a throw away price who then sell them to markets in Nairobi and western province at abnormal profits,” Tuliandale said.