Kenya has introduced a raft of measures aimed at revamping Artificial Insemination (AI) and boost the growth of the livestock sector that is key to food security, officials said on Sunday.

Harry Kimtai, principal secretary in the State Department of Livestock said the new measures include additional funds for the Kenya Animal Genetics Resources Center to enable it produce quality semen for breeding herds across the country.

He said the government has developed a modern Semen production center at the Agricultural Development Corporation in Kitale town to serve farmers in the northwestern parts of the country.

Kimtai said the facility will support efficiency in breeding through artificial insemination services while modernizing livestock training institutes for manpower needed to offer the services.

“The Dairy Training Institute in Naivasha and all the Animal Health and Industry Training Institutes will be modernized to offer relevant trainings in the dairy industry,” said Kimtai.

He said the government was committed and had prioritized support for the dairy industry as evidenced by modernization of the Eldoret, Dandora and Naivasha Kenya Cooperative Creameries.

“This is a strategic parastatal that supports farm operators in milk marketing while giving training on the best milk preservation practices,” said Kimtai.

He termed the livestock sector as strategic in President Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda saying last year it contributed 12 percent to the gross domestic product.

“The livestock sector accounts for over 42 percent of farm gate value of agricultural commodities and this therefore implies that the sector directly influences the growth of our economy,” said Kimtai.

He urged livestock farmers to transform from subsistence into commercially viable enterprises in order to tap into the potential that the sector has to offer.

“This will require application for new technologies, innovations and management practices that improve the efficiency of livestock farmers and operators to produce and distribute livestock and livestock products,” said Kimtai. Enditem

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