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Sh180m set aside to boost cattle breeds in Kenya

COUNTIES
By Michael Ollinga | March 7th 2015

ELDORET: Livestock breeding will receive a boost after the government set aside over Sh180 million to establish three liquid nitrogen plants in the country.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei while commissioning one of the plants in Eldoret, said they are vital in preservation and transportation of high quality semen for cattle breeding.

“Animal breeds improvement through Artificial Insemination is among the priorities of this government, on completion the nitrogen plants will produce more nitrogen to preserve semen under required conditions in the selected regions and increase access by farmers,” said Mr Koskei.

He explained that the station under construction in Eldoret within the Veterinary Inspection Centre, will serve North Rift region where dairy farming is picking up.

“The nation’s cattle population is approximately at 17 million animals and of these only three million are hybrid, we need to grade more animals to grow the dairy sector with the demand for more milk getting high,” said Koskei.

According to the CS, the country currently relies on one nitrogen plant and Kabete bull station where semen is produced, preserved and transported making it expensive for farmers in the grassroots who pay five times the required price.

Koskei said storage of semen where liquid nitrogen is required to keep it at less than zero degrees centigrade and transportation makes it expensive.

He explained that when a farmer goes to the Kenya Animal Genetic Resources Centre they purchase a straw of semen at around Sh300 but those at the grassroots get it at between Sh1,500 and Sh2,000 due to charges imposed by distributors.

In the first phase nitrogen plants will be constructed in Eldoret, Meru and Nyahururu at a cost of Sh65 million per station, the second phase which will begin next year will cover Sotik, Kirinyaga and Voi while the third phase will include Kakamega, Migori and Kilifi.

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