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Livestock farmers learn from the best at show

By Jacqueline Mahugu | July 22nd 2016
By Jacqueline Mahugu | July 22nd 2016

The 10th edition of the Brookside Livestock Breeders Show and Sale kicked off Thursday with nearly 1,000 animals on display.

Brookside, the main sponsor of the show since 2000, hosted visitors from all over the region. The show, held at the Jamhuri Park Show Grounds (ASK), featured a wide range of stock, including camels, cows, goats, sheep and rabbits.

It attracted both large-scale and smallholder livestock farmers from all over the country, with about 30 farmers from Uganda. The show began with the judging of various animal breeds, including cows such as Jersey, Ayrshire, Friesian and Guernsey. The judges have been drawn from countries with strong livestock industries such as New Zealand and South Africa.

Visitors also had access to trade stands featuring various stakeholders in the farming industry, in addition to a fat stock auction, with butchers and farmers bidding for livestock.

Organisers of the show intend to encourage farmers, especially small-holder players who they consider the backbone of the livestock industry, to adopt new and best practices in order to better their livelihoods. Farmers were wowed by cows that produce up to 50 litres of milk per day.

Daniel Muchunu, a farmer from Laikipia who was at the event, said, “I have three cows that produce 6 to 10 litres per day but after attending this show I will definitely be looking to improve production.”

Industry regulator Kenya Dairy Board, Unga Farm Care, Pembe Seeds are also sponsors. Farmers will also be trained on animal insurance, dairy financing approaches, use of mobile applications for dairy records management and using artificial insemination. The main speakers on these issues are from Equity Bank, Kenya Dairy Board, Unga Farm Care, Smart Farm, East Africa Semen and Embryo Transfer Association (EASETA), among others.

New and improved technologies in the livestock industry were also demonstrated, such as embryo transfer, machine milking, flexi-biogas demonstrations, leather, rabbit rearing and animal feed demonstrations.

Milk Consumption

“The aim of the show is to work with other stakeholders in the market,” said John Gethi, Brookside’s Director of Milk Procurement, John Gethi. “We have teamed together with different livestock breeders and trade sponsors, and it is about everyone in the whole industry put together to promote excellence within the region.”

He termed the opening of the show as a huge success and encouraged farmers to attend during the remaining days. Agriculture contributes a quarter to the national GDP, with livestock accounting for 14 per cent. Brookside commands 45 per cent of the formal dairy market.

Kenya produces 700,000 litres of milk per day through the formal milk market. Kenyans have a per capita consumption of milk at 110 litres per annum, way below the WHO recommendation of 180 litres per annum. However, Mr Gethi said Kenya is doing better than our neighbours, who consume a per capita average of 30 litres per year.

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