Inadequate grazing pasture, changes in land use system, inbreeding and changing climatic conditions have been identified as the main concern for the downward trends of quality and quantity of livestock production in Turkana County.
According to the County Government, the Pastoral Economy department has laid out plans that includes; partnership with livestock stakeholders, commercialize livestock production, development and improvement of livestock feed base through range rehabilitation, mapping of wet and dry grazing areas as well as strengthening disease surveillance as some measures to address this.
One initiative the County Government has started is distributing Gala goats in Lopur ward in Turkana West sub-county with the aim of increasing livestock production and productivity in the area through introduction of a new breed. The new male goat breed will be used to upgrade the local breed.
Speaking at Lopusky village as he presided over the distribution of goats, the County Chief Officer for Fisheries, Livestock production and Veterinary Services Abdullahi Yussuf said that the joint exercise between the Livestock production directorate and Action Africa Help (AAH) Organisation was informed by the low milk production due to inbreeding as well as high reproductive rates and short generation interval associated with local goats breed.
He noted that the new livestock breed would fasten growth and enable quality meat and high milk production to the pastoralist community through a close collaboration that would see County staff offer technical expertise. The Chief Officer stated that establishment of market days by the livestock production department had accelerated and improved market access and trade for pastoralists and other market players.
Livestock production Director Bobby Ekadon asked beneficiaries to utilize the gala goats to improve livestock production and productivity of goats in the region. His Veterinary Services counterpart Benson Longor said that the department was on high alert to deal with cases of suspected Foot and Mouth Disease from livestock that recently migrated from the neighbouring countries.
Area Member of County Assembly Evans Ekai and AAH livelihoods coordinator Allan Odera graced the occasion among other government officers.