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< prev - next > Livestock Animal husbandry KnO 100011_Conservation of indigenous breeds (Printable PDF)
Conservation of indigenous livestock
Practical Action
6. Socio-cultural – The Somali communities prefer the camel bull, which sires more
females, while the Rendille and Gabra communities prefer the camel bull, which sires
males. Females among these communities are given as gifts to other people within the
community. This practice instils a sense of unity and prevents conflicts within the
same community, since the community, as a whole, owns the livestock.
The breeding policy in Kenya
The breeding priority of Kenya is to produce enough food for national self- sufficiency in meat.
This has been so since Kenya achieved its independence since 1993 and continues to be so
today. To achieve this, the development of the livestock sector and in particular of the dairy
sub-sector, depends heavily on the availability of high quality genetic materials. It is believed
that such animal genetic resources are essential for the establishment and growth of a national
herd of high productive potential. As a matter of policy, therefore, the government
encourages, promotes and supports the search for and production of superior genetic
materials, not only for local use but also for export. Hence AI programmes and other up-
grading strategies have been initiated.
Prevention of loss of valuable indigenous genetic diversity
As a result of up-grading the local breeds for improved production in Kenya, there is loss of
valuable indigenous genetic diversity. There is a need to reverse this trend and the following
recommendations have been made:
Documentation of indigenous knowledge on livestock breeds and breeding practices in
the different communities in Kenya
Recognition and organization of local livestock breeders into informal breeders
associations so that breeders are encouraged and trained to adopt breeding programs
based on modern approaches.
Identification and characterization of all existing livestock breeds, with particular
emphasis on the respective environment in which these animals are kept.
Provision of incentives to the local livestock breeders especially pastoralists and the
marginal farmers.
Ex-situ conservation to be put in place by the government for those animals which
have not been identified as possessing unique characteristics and which are currently
not utilized and are therefore in danger of extinction.
The development, by governments, of strategies for utilizing local breeds in cross
breeding programmes, in environments where such genotypes can be sustainably
Research to develop methods to facilitate rapid identification and documentation of
existing local livestock genetic resources.
References and further reading
Arthritis in Cattle Technical Brief Practical Action
Community based animal healthcare Technical Brief Practical Action
Tsetse Fly Management Technical Brief Practical Action
Animal Healthcare Training J Young & S Jones Practical Action Publishing 1994 ISBN
Community-based Animal Healthcare A Catley et al Practical Action Publishing 2002 ISBN
Ethnoveterinary Medicine M Martin Practical Action Publishing 2001 ISBN 9781853395222
Sharing the Load L van Dijk et al Practical Action Publishing 2011 ISBN 9781853397196
Village Animal Healthcare B Grandin Practical Action Publishing 1991 ISBN