January 14, 2019
By Martin Masai
KITUI Governor Kaluki Ngilu this week opens a new front for wealth creation to fight poverty for Kitui people.The plan targets mass artificial insemination for Kitui’s cattle beginning Wednesday this week.
Governor Ngilu is scheduled to launch the initiative at Mbitini Market in Kitui Rural , with the exercise kicking off in all other sub-counties in coming days.The move will begin the actualization of the pledge by the governor to create wealth for Kitui people by improving their cattle so that they can compete on equal basis or even better at the market place, with cattle from other parts of Kenya.
Wealth Creation is the Fifth Pillar of Governor Ngilu’s manifesto. Other pillars are Food and Water, Affordable Healthcare, Education and Youth Development and Women Empowerment. She has rolled out initiatives aimed at accomplishing each of the goals.The project aims at changing the traditional livestock kept in Kitui by locally producing cross-breeds of Friesian, Guernsey, Jersey, Ayrshire Brown Swiss, Boran and Sahiwal among others, that can cope with the county’s climatic conditions.
Agriculture and Water Minister Mr. Emmanuel Kisangau says the county is targeting 250,000 cattle on the whole, with a focus to adding the herds by 60,000 in May 2019.
The county is using a synchronization method that manipulates a herds’ ovulation cycle and induces a large number of females to be on heat in a short predetermined time. When the manipulation is triggered, it starts a new follicular wave where mass artificial insemination can be administered to hundreds of cows that are ready for conception.
The main objective of the program is to produce both pure and cross breed dairy animals from the local dairy herd and the local indigenous Zebu and Boran cattle herds.Mr. Kisangau says “ The dams (mothers) will be the animals owned by Kitui farmers while the sire bulls will be through selected semen straws from Kenya Animal Genetic Resources Centre (KAGRC- Kabete )”, he said. He adds that the second objective is to get many calves at one go, timing of calving time to coincide with plenty of animal pasture and hasten the speed of genetic upgrading of Kitui’s dairy herd.
Mr. Kisangau says the program will reduce the cost of artificial insemination by doing it enmass. He added the County Government of Kitui had already has purchased some of the
Semen for the listed breeds.