Ray of Hope for Livestock Farming in the Arid and Semi-Arid Regions
Narok Governor Samuel Ole Tunai’s idea of reviving the Livestock Show and Auction in the largely pastoralists community is a great idea that will open doors of opportunities to the locals and investors. The show, which was held at Narok County Stadium for two days from 3rd to 4th of December seeks to inject professionalism in the raring of Livestock through utilisation of modern techniques of farming such as Animal Husbandry, Artificial Insemination (AI); Introduction of new breeds of livestock: Friesian, Aryshire, Jersey, Simmental, Charolis, Hereford, Heifer and Guernsey over the traditional breeds and construction of standardised abattoirs in the region will help boost productivity in both milk and meat production as well as creation of employment as it will focus more on value addition (quality) as opposed to numbers (quantity)with low returns.
According to the governor, who was speaking on one of the local TV stations, “the whole of Masaai community from Kajiado, Narok and Samburu has failed to reap big from cattle raring due to lack of technical know-how despite it being their source of livelihood. This could be attributed to the negative mind-set of Maasai culture and tradition which encouraged overstocking of livestock without considering the problematic situation in existence of scarcity of land, forage and water for animals. As a result, this has led to low production in both milk and meat as animals scramble for the limited resources available leading to land degradation.”
In addition, being a semi-arid region, the Masaai land is prone to water shortage and pasture each year that significantly leads to massive death of livestock. The Masaai Morans are therefore forced to travel long distances in search of water and pasture. A tradition associated with the community popularly referred to as Nomadism. This practice however is no longer economical as times have changed. Land is no longer communally owned like before. Land has become so much subdivided and privatised that it is no longer possible to sustain so many animals on a small farm hence the need of decongestion by embracing the new breeds that have huge returns per head.
Therefore, this is a new beginning for the livestock keepers of Narok and the neighbouring communities who depend entirely on Livestock as their source of livelihood. Livestock farmers will gain exposure and acquire vital knowledge from experts and field extension officers thereby maximising profits as it is going to be a continues process that will last forever.