InnovAfrica team members from NIBIO, ILRI, KALRO and KENAFF visited the office of Hon. Dr. Jackan Gutu, the County Executive for Agriculture, Livestock, Veterinary and Fisheries in Kirinyaga County Office on 23 May 2018. Dr. Donald Njarui, InnovAfrica team leader in KALRO briefed the Executive on InnovAfrica Projects and its activities in Kirinyaga and Machakos Counties of Kenya. The InnovAfrica in collaboration with Kirinyaga County is promoting cultivation of Brachiaria grass among dairy farmers to improve feed availability for increased milk production.
The County Executive commented that “Animal feed is a big challenge in the county and it has to be improved to achieve milk potential. The potential for dairy farming in Kirinyaga County is substantial and if good quality feed is not available to farmers milk production will remain a pipe dream. What you are doing in InnovAfrica project is very important and it will contribute to food security in the county. I will be keen on this project moving forward. Give your work plan and we can work together. This is the best time in Kenya since food security is one of the big four pillars for the government. As a county we are working towards having our own County Fish and Animal Feed Plant at Kiaga.”
The Executive also mentioned substantial use of crop residues mainly rice straw and maize stover as animal feed that are low in nutritive value. The Executive appreciated InnovAfrica team for considering Kirinyaga County as InnovAfrica project site and stated that County Government will have full support to InnovAfrica project and in upscaling the technology. He mentioned that the county is already propagating Brachiaria grass at its Kamweti Agricultural Training Center in Kirinyaga East.
Mr. Johnson Ndege, Chief Officer – Agriculture, Livestock, Veterinary & Fisheries from the Kirinyaga County joined the InnovAfrica team in monitoring the progress made on implementation of project activities in Kirinyaga County. Seven farmers growing Brachiaria grass were visited in Mwea East Sub County. The farmers expressed their satisfactions on the performance of Brachiaria grass. Indeed, one farmer has already expanded his Brachiaria acreage using root splits and other farmers have plan to expand the area under Brachiaria grass during the coming short rains of October – December 2018. The Brachiaria grass was introduced to this area in March 2018.