Kenya Agricultural Research Institute Ol Njoro Orok Annual Report 2007

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Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Production of certified seeds, clean planting material and breeding animals (dairy and sheep) continues to be our main contribution to the farmers . In this regard, we have embarked on putting into place the prerequisites needed for this undertaking. This includes registrations, certification and quarantines. Potato, High Altitude Composite maize seeds and clean planting materials of fodder are a priority. Nyandarua district and its environs are mainly livestock producing areas and to increase our contribution to the dairy industry, we have continued to bulk for sale to farmers clean planting material of Napier grass, variety Kakamega 1 (Kl) which is resistant to head smut, a disease that is very destructive to the Napierfodder. To give farmers a wide choice of the varieties, we have introduced K2 and K3 for bulking and subsequent sale to farmers next year. Plans are under way to produce certified fodder sorghum seeds in collaboration with Kari-Lanet. Alread we have popularized the fodder sorghum among our contact farmers and the demand is very high. In our quest to fulfill one of our centres mandates of commercial production of commodities developed through ou technologies we have embarked on an expansion program of converting tracts of our land that has been hitherto under natural pastures to wheat fields. Our medium term goal is to gradually establish pasture leys in some of these fields to match our rapidly increasing dairy stock. This year we started growing the bulk of the raw materials needed for compounding our own dairy meal. We were able to grow and compound feeds from oat grains, maize in cob, sweet lupins and other minor ingredients. This pilot program will be improved and expanded for self sufficiency and cost cutting by avoiding buying commercial feeds which are expensive and of low quality. In sheep production, we have embarked on improving our flock potential through purchase of high grade sheep rams, a lineage of pure bred Hampshiredowns flock that were imported from South Africa. We have b~en selling the offsprings to farmers to improve their flocks genetic potential. The demand is very high for these breeding ram Our target is to develop nearly pure bred flocks of Hampshiredowns and Corriedale breed of sheep in the centre which will form a gene pool from which farmers can tap from, through buying breeding rams. We have already registered our flock as a foundation with the Kenya Stud Book. The centre will continue playing a pivotal role as testing site for technologies that are suitable for the cold highland characterized by frost and low temperatures in collaboration with other Kari-centres and similar institutions that carry out agricultural research. Testing of materials in NPT (national performance trials) has been very high in particular for maize and potatoes. Kari-Oljororok has great potential to test and carry out scientific research relevant to its unique locality but this is limited by lack of a laboratory and scientists. If the two are well addressed, the centre can have a regional mandate for research technologies suitable in the cold and dry highlands.