Zebu cattle of Kenya: Uses,performance, farmer preferences,measures of genetic diversity andoptions for improved use

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
National Agricultural Research Centre
The need for improved understanding and utilisation of indigenous livestock breeds is well recognised not only by the Government of Kenya, but also by other countries in eastern Africa. This recognition is reflected, for example, in the Strategy and Work Programme of the ASARECA (Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa) Animal Agriculture Research Network. The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARl) has for many years worked with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) on different aspects of livestock research, including analyses of long-term breeding programmes. Discussions between ILRI and KARl scientists on specific collaboration on on-farm and molecular characterisation of indigenous Kenya zebu cattle started as far back as 1992, and led to the development of the first set of field survey protocols. With funding from ILRI, these were tested by KARl and University of Nairobi scientists. However, the funding was not adequate to proceed with comprehensive surveys. Discussions continued nonetheless, and in 1998 KARl obtained, through the EU-funded Agriculture/Livestock Research Support Programme Phase II (ARSP II) project, the necessary funding to continue the work. KARl requested ILRI to collaborate, in a backstopping role, in the conduct of breed surveys and molecular genetic characterisation of the zebu cattle breeds in the arid and semi-arid districts of Kenya.