KENYA – About 3,800 Kenyan dairy farmers in Kirinyaga County have benefited from subsidized Artificial Insemination (AI) services that seek to upgrade the county’s cattle breeds to increase milk production.

The AI services being offered under the county Governor Anne Waiguru’s Wezesha Kirinyaga empowerment program, target to have over 50,000 cows served with semen for high milk-producing cattle breeds.

“The initiative aims at giving dairy farmers a new breed that will increase milk production from the current five litres to around 12 litres per cow per day, enabling farmers to earn more money from the sale of milk,” Governor Waiguru said.

“The ultimate goal of this program is to ensure that farmers increase their milk production and get more value from it so that they can uplift their living standards,” said the governor.

The AI program is being undertaken through four Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) targeting 60 dairy community interest groups.

According to Waiguru, through the initiative, the CBOs are being provided with semen, nitrogen tanks and technical expertise to provide AI services to dairy farmers.

“The initiative has significantly reduced the cost of AI services while at the same time improving the quality of the breeds the farmers get, this will translate into increased milk production when the calves mature to start milk production.”

In addition, Titus Gatua, a member of Ndia Dairy CBO noted that the county government through the Wezesha program has provided machines to produce quality and affordable feeds for cattle and this has helped to increase milk production.

Speaking when receiving nitrogen tanks, Gatua said the tanks for storage of semen will go a long way in improving the breeds of their cattle as well as increase milk production which will translate into increased income for farmers.

“Farmers are very excited about the affordable AI services and the extension officers are very prompt. Previously, we would be charged Ksh. 1000 for our cows to be served but now, it has gone down to Ksh. 500 and we are extremely grateful to the County Government,” said Gatua.

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.