Farmers in Taita Taveta can expect to receive better returns from their livestock in the years ahead following the launch of a Livestock Identification and Tracking System (LITS) in the county.
Roll out of LITS prgramme in the Coastal county follows a successful pilot phase in Laikipia where 45,170 animals have been successfully tagged in 381 premises, supporting a value chain of 700 local farmers.
The LITS project, which is backed by the KCB Foundation to the tune of Kes14.6 million, will be implemented by the Kenya Veterinary Association and the Directorate of Veterinary Services in the area.
Through the programme, the animals will be managed to meet the required health and tracing standards, enabling the farmers to earn better returns from their investment.
Starting with roughly 2,600 cattle at Lualenyi Ranch, LITS also aims at improving the quality of Kenya’s livestock while supporting a viable market for local and international trade in animals and their products.
The initiative is also part of the broader plan to ensure food safety while also improving the security of animal assets in the county.
Cabinet Administrative Secretary, State Department for Livestock, Mr Lawrence Omuhaka, said that his ministry is seeking to enhance institutional effectiveness and service delivery through collaboration with both national and international agencies.
“The success being celebrated today is the culmination of such partnership and collaboration. We celebrate the partnership between Lualenyi ranch and KCB Foundation which has resulted in the acquisition of modernized dip and crush series enabling the ranch to manage a total of 2,600 animals,” Mr Omuhaka said.
KCB Group Director, Marketing, Corporate Affairs and Citizenship, Rosalind Gichuru, noted that “Our goal is to create and enable a reliable marketing infrastructure, both locally and internationally which will contribute towards the growth of the economy while at the same time creating wealth for livestock farming communities.”
Lualenyi Ranch received a modern dip and crush, which will be used for disease control, a restraining area for cattle vaccination while also serving as a loading area for transportation of animals to the markets.
“Access to credit from banks is a challenge for farmer producer organizations in the livestock sector due to their unstructured nature. As such, our sustainable agriculture agenda aims to enhance the commercial viability and value chain of livestock farmers from arid and semi-arid areas by enhancing market access and income opportunities,” added Ms Gichuru.
Taita-Taveta CEC for Livestock Davis Mwangoma said the programme will significantly help give rise to a competitive livestock market in the county.
According to Mr Mwangoma, the programme will also increase animal security and create jobs for the locals.
“The sector has continued to grow over the last 10 years with the restocking of ranches and good management processes,” he said.