NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Perennial death of cattle in Kenya’s arid and
semi-arid areas in the North is set to be a thing of the past as
the government moves to establish feedlots.
in the last few years been experiencing severe drought in the
drylands, where 90 percent of beef animals are kept.
During such times, pastoralists lose thousands of animals to
drought due to lack of pasture.
The lucky ones normally move to other areas but this has
always led to conflict over resources, including pasture and
Others have been selling the animals for as low as 5 U.S.
dollars for goats and sheep to escape losses.
Over the years, the government has been buying animals from
farmers to cushion them from losses but this model has been
unsustainable so far.
Feedlots, therefore, offer the best solution as the effects
of climate change become more severe in the East African
nation’s arid areas.
The feedlots are special holding zones for animals where they
are treated, fed with various protein rations to boost weight
gain and then released for the market for slaughter.
"The country has experienced drought in many arid and
"To mitigate the effects of drought, the department of
livestock wishes to engage feedlot operators to establish
strategic holding zones in various parts of the country," said
principal secretary in the department of livestock Andrew
The Kenya government seeks to establish the feedlots in 12
arid counties namely Machakos, Isiolo, Laikipia, Tana River,
Lamu, Narok, Baringo, Kajiado, Marsabit, Kwale, Taita Taveta and
The overall aim of the project, according to Tuimur, is to
boost food security, which is one of the main goals of the Big
Four agenda through increase of supply of livestock for the
local and export market.
Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer, said feedlots would
unlock the economic potential of arid areas.
"That culture of losing animals due to drought would be a
thing of the past.
"Pastoralist would sell their animals at good prices after
rearing them for some years," he noted.
Kenya’s beef exports were denied entry into the European
Union due to diseases, years back.
But with feedlots, Wandera sees the resurgence of beef export
trade as the animals would be kept in special zones, where their
origin can be easily traced in case they are to be sold for
"Botswana exports beef to the EU because of feedlots. Why not
Kenya, a bigger economy?
This is a step in the right direction," he concluded.
African Union and Kenya
plan to improve camel productivity through new drug
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The African Union and Kenya are set to unveil a
new camel drug to help increase productivity and improve
livelihoods in the Horn of Africa market.
Judith Chemuliti, Director of Kenya’s Biotechnology Research
Institute (BioRI) said on Thursday that once the study is
complete, the drug will replace the current drug, tryquin that
has been in existence for the last 20 years.
"We are set to look at an integrated control of camel
diseases that threaten livelihood and food security in the Horn
of Africa," Chemuliti said during the project launch in Nairobi
She blamed tryquin’s ineffectiveness for the spread of surra,
a camel trypanosomiasis disease that is a constraint to camel
Chemuliti, who is also the study’s Principal Investigator,
said that the study will help contribute to development of
pastoral communities through sustainable intensification of
The scientist noted that the three-year study which will be
funded by the African Union will be carried out in Somaliland in
northern and northeastern Kenya.
She observed that camel production has been a significant
livelihood means and an integral part of socio-cultural
practices of pastoralist communities in Somalia and ecosystem in
the Horn of Africa yet the disease causes high mortality,
reduction in milk production and loss in body condition.
"Unlike other livestock species, camels are affected most by
surra due to abundance of its unique vectors—biting flies that
lead to infection rate of 20-70 percent in camel herds with high
mortality rates in untreated herds," she added.
According to Chemuliti, despite surra’s socio economic
significance in the Horn of Africa, the disease has previously
received minimal and intermittent research and control attention
by government and development agencies.
She said that researchers will study and communicate control
methods to ameliorate the complex problem of surra in the Somali
"We plan to come up with evidence based integrated
technologies and approaches that will optimize efficiency in
camel production, minimize production losses and avoid
geographical spreading of camel trypanosomiasis," said the
She said that the researchers will also build capacity of
animal health workers in the region to better manage and control
Eluid Kireger, the Director General of Kenya Agriculture and
Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) said the study will help
benefit the regional countries by enhancing livestock
Once the disease is managed in the region, Kireger said,
camel products will find market internationally.
"The study will help improve livelihoods and food security in
the Horn of Africa by increasing trans-border trade in the
region," he added.