More than 30 dairy cows in Kakamega county government’s ambitious One Cow Initiative programme under the Agriculture Support Development Programme (ASDP) have died, according to a senior county official.
Addressing livestock and poultry farmers at Mukuyu village in Mautuma ward while on an inspection tour of the county funded agricultural projects in Lugari Sub County, Kakamega County Executive for Agriculture, Mr. Kulati Wangia regretted the loss incurred revealing that a total of 32 cows had died.
“We have so far lost 32 cows out of the 600 high quality in-calf grade cows that were distributed to selected farmers across the county in November last year,” disclosed Wangia who attributed the loss mainly to the dread East Coast Fever (ECF) disease.
The county minister assured farmers that the county government was in the process of putting in a raft of measures that will ensure complete success of the county funded projects, which include dairy, poultry and tissue culture banana.
“For instance, we are working out modalities to enable our farmers gain easy access to animal feeds and necessary drugs at affordable prices in this financial year in order to mitigate some of the challenges currently faced by them,” said Wangia.
The official, however, encouraged farmers to form and work in legally recognized groups to enable them gain access to agricultural inputs easily and at low costs as well as attract strong bargaining powers to end products on their farms.
“The county government may not be in a position to perform everything like availing animal feeds for the grade cows and chickens,” Wangia told farmers who are under the ASDP.
He further disclosed the county’s department of veterinary services will roll out a vaccination campaign programme against ECF in order to reduce mortality rate of dairy animals across the county.
Besides launching the grade cows, the county government also launched the poultry promotion farming in which poultry farmers groups in four sub counties had already received chicks before close of last financial year.
The four sub counties include Khwisero, Mumias West, Navakholo and Lugari.
“By end of this financial year, the county government will have distributed over 300,000 chicks to poultry farmers groups across the county,” noted the minister.
According to the county executive more than 18,000 seedlings of high yield banana seedlings under the Banana Commercialization Programme were distributed to farmers across the county in the previous fiscal year.
“The idea is to make Kakamega residents boost our food security through diversification of farming activity,” remarked Wangia, who encouraged farmers to embrace poultry, tissue culture banana and tea production as alternative sources of income that have ready markets.
Kakamega County Director of Agriculture, Mr. Francis Anunda, accompanied the county executive, with Lugari Sub County Livestock Development Officer, Mr. Wellington Mang’oli being the host.