By Nyapola Atenya and David Wanjohi
Laikipia County has an estimated population of 400,000 goats and 700,000 sheep’s. The main production system practiced is nomadic pastoralism. The main breeds kept are the Black head Persian, Red Maasai, Dorpers, Small East African goats, and Galla goats. Galla goats and Dorper sheep are mainly in commercial ranches.
Poor genetics, inadequate uptake of modern breeding technologies and poor animal husbandry had led to slow growth rate and low mature weight of 25-30 kgs in animals. This has a net effect of low return to investment resulting in high poverty levels.
The Agricultural Sector Development Support Program (ASDSP) in collaboration with other partners has been addressing the challenges by improving access to better breeding stock through capacity building trainings, awareness creation as well as creating linkage to service providers.
|Laikipia Governor presenting dorper rams to members of LLMA|
Among the beneficiaries included members of Laikipia Livestock Marketing Association (LLMA). ASDSP then linked the group to African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Eco-Agriculture.
Since then AWF has supported 13 group ranches in Laikipia North with 20 improved dorper rams.
Different households receive a ram to serve a flock of 50 ewes for 3 months after which a different household also benefits from the initiative. The long-term plan is to serve 3000 households in Laikipia North.
On their part, ECO –Agriculture partners has supported Kijabe Integrated Youth against Aids and Poverty (KIYAAP) with 33 Galla Does and 3 bucks and 51 Dorper rams for distribution to households.
The program has already ensured breeding of 31 kids and 160 lambs of improved breed while the next lambing has commenced.
The association has also engaged in rangeland rehabilitation with 50 acres already established for seed multiplication and hay as feed for the improved stock.
The community through LLMA is now able to access quality breeding stock, which was not possible individually due to prohibitive cost. Currently 93 households have accessed the improved breeds.