Livestock keeping is a major practice among the Luhya community.
Farmers keep livestock for milk and meat produce. However, there has been a niche from farmers dealing with livestock keeping.
Speaking to Dr. Celestine Naliaka, the Head of Veterinary in Kanduyi Sub-County in Bungoma, she urges farmers in Bungoma County to ensure that their livestock is in good health to enhance their production in order to boost their profit. Dr. Naliaka says farmers should ensure they give their livestock proper care and retaliates that livestock is inclusive of animals like dogs, cats, hens and not only cattle.
Dr.Naliaka says that improper care of livestock affects the rate of production and causes harm to human beings through the human food chain leading to zoonotic diseases.
“When the livestock is safe the residents are safe”, she said.
She urged farmers to give their livestock the required minerals like phosphorus and condemns farmers’ mentality that giving their livestock enough feeds means they are healthy. She says that when they lack the right nutrient and minerals the large amount of feeds given to them goes to waste. She highlighted that farmers should be keen with food formulation.
When formulating food for their livestock, they should consider specific quantity. When farmers give too much food to the livestock they become obese and this can be considered as sickness. Incase farmers are in doubt of the specific amount of feeds they should give their livestock. She encouraged them to visit veterinary offices and seek advice. She also talked on structure and maintenance and urged farmers to ensure that the environment their livestock lives is clean. She further encouraged farmers to be keen on their livestock and be quick to notice unusual behaviours from them like refusing to eat, sleeping a lot, dry nose and constant seeking of shade. In case of either of the behaviours from their livestock, farmers should immediately consult the veterinary offices, talk to nyumba kumi or village elder who will give the information to the veterinary office and make it easier to reach the farmer.
She condemned myths like the use of a mixture of ash and water and herbs and said they have not been confirmed and may cause more harm to their livestock but instead farmers should seek help from specialists. She further said that some of the challenges they go through are like low turnout from farmers.
She noted that even after making it public to the farmers of ongoing livestock vaccination, farmers still resist turning up. It poses as a challenge to them because in case of a suspected outbreak 70% of livestock need to be vaccinated in order to conclude that the sickness can be resisted in that area. She also said that the cost of vaccination will be reduced and that farmers who are unable to afford the price should consult local officers and their livestock can still be vaccinated.
She said that farmers should help to enhance bio security.They should not sell an infected animal because it is hazardous to man.In such a case they should seek veterinary help who will advice the farmer to burn or bury it.
She also encouraged farmers who lack market for their produce whether eggs,milk or meat to seek help from their veterinary offices.They will be asked to register themselves to help know which sector they deal with and they will be connected to various markets.
She advised farmers to turn up in large number in case of vaccinations and consult whenever they see unusual behaviours from their livestock.
She concluded by thanking the government for their help through various facilitation like providing vehicles for field work and encouraged the incoming government to continue with the same.
By Mercy Misiko