The role of livestock in the attainment of food security in kenya

The food and agriculture organization (FAO) defines food security as simply the availability of adequate, secure and suitable supply of food for everyone; that is, freedom from hunger and malnutrition. Food security exist when all people within a nation or globally, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy productive life.
Livestock farming i.e. keeping of cattle, sheep, goats, camel and poultry, in developing countries like Kenya holds a great potential for improving the availability of food directly or indirectly. Animal products such as meat, eggs and milk are themselves source of nutrient rich food. These same products can be sold earning the farmer income, which in turn can be used to buy more food preferred by the farmer and also in educating their children, therefore reducing poverty and bettering their livelihood.
Livestock also provide draft polwer in ploughing arable land and also in transporting farm inputs and product to the farm and or market; they also provide manure used to increase arable land fertility and provide nutrients to crops hence boosting crop production therefore further increasing food supply and income to the farmer.
As seen, livestock sector has immensely contributed to diversification of food; Research in this sector has devised many genetical tools such as Artificial insemination and Embryo transplants which has greatly promoted the use of genetically superior semen and embryos to aid in the production of also superior animals in terms of both production and disease resistance, and also adaptability to different ecological zones. Farmers should be educated to embrace these two tool in breeding their animals, in order to improve their genetics, translating to better production. The use of this same tools have also greatly aided in control and prevention of venereal reproductive diseases such as trichomoniasis and campylobacteriosis which adversely affect the animals reproductive cycle, bringing about Early embryonic death, abortions and stillbirths, and the most dreaded and common repeat breeder syndromes. These diseases have brought a lot of loses in the sector.
In a bid to also increase livestock production and therefore food supply to the population, small holder farmers forming the main pillar in the production of animal products in the country should be educated in forums like Exhibitions and shows in areas such as animal nutrition, genetics and husbandry.
The development of animal product related industries in the country has led to processing and value addition of the animal products such as milk, meat, hides and skin increasing their shelf life and therefore availability to many populations in areas where livestock farming is almost impossible such as urban and dry areas. These industries buy the products from farmers acting as an incentive for intensive livestock production and also offers extension services to their farmers this again has boosts the production in the sector.
(Dr. Ngetich BVM, UoN)

22 thoughts on “The role of livestock in the attainment of food security in kenya”

  1. Well done Daktari! This is absolutely true farmers shoud be ready to get sensitised and boost animal productivity in your forementioned superior technological know how in a nimal breading!

  2. Very true Dr. As a nation the solution for food security is in our hands. We dont have to depend on Aids each year. We only need to understand that Livestocks makes better livelihoods.

    1. The manpower dispatched each year in the sector is really very great, they only need to be absorbed, and the efforts will really be tremendous, poverty will be really reduced malnutrition will be the story of the past. Some little changes and kenya will be the like of Israel, South Affrica and the likes

  3. This is a nice inspiration blog…but according to me Kenya has the best breeds the main problem is nutrition which in turn affects the products.

    1. Very true Naomi, feeding and nutrition is the real issue here, vagaries of nature playing the major role, but in highly fertile areas of the nation farmers should be educated on ways of conserving excess feeds in times of plenty, like via standing hay, ensiling forage and such ways, this will help in times of scarcity like during droughts, ensuring constant production.

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