About the Department
The livestock sub-sector contributes over 30% of the farm gate value of agricultural commodities, about 10% of the national GDP and at least 50% of the agricultural GDP. The sector employs about 50% of the agricultural labour force. Domestic livestock also supply the local requirements of meat, milk, dairy products and other livestock products while accounting for about 30% of the total marketed agricultural products. In the ASALs pastoralism, ranching and agro-pastoralism are practiced. In agro-pastoralism, the farmers integrate crop and livestock production and crop residues form a significant proportion of livestock feeds.
Livestock comprise dairy cattle, goats, camels and beef cattle, small ruminants, non-ruminants, poultry and emerging livestock such as quail and rabbits. Milk production in the country includes 4.6 billion litres from cattle, 6.4 million litres from goats and 340 million litres from camels providing an important source of livelihoods to Kenyans.
Production constraints include low productivity, poor breed characterisation, inadequate breeding services, poor animal husbandry, inadequate extension and advisory services, inadequate feeds and feeding, disease challenges, high cost of inputs and poor access to markets and inadequate integration of industry players.
Research is conducted under the Department to address the constraints in the livestock sub sector through the development of technologies which will:
1. Provide livestock of high genetic potential.
2. Improve feed availability throughout the year especially dry season feeding.
3. Come up with well suited forage and fodder for the different production systems.
4. Develop disease control technologies.
5. Improve value addition of quality livestock products such as milk, hides and skins.
6. Integrate crop-livestock.
7. Develop effective traceability systems.