Kenya’s agricultural sector has received a boost following the establishment of the Department of Animal Sciences at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The new department is slated to produce qualified personnel in animal production and processing; to service the livestock farming value chain in Kenya and beyond.
The Department’s Head Dr. Francis Njonge believes this move will provide sustainable manpower solutions to the sector that has been plagued by a number of challenges. He says despite Kenya producing up to 5 billion litres of milk annually, only 30% is processed, leading to loss of revenue by local farmers. Other milk product like butter, cheese, and ghee are yet to take root in the country.
Dr. Njonge also believes that it is time Kenyan farmers thought about emerging livestock production like crocodile farming. Such unconventional livestock, with international markets, could unlock the resident potential in Kenya. About 30% of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is derived from Agriculture with 10% of it from livestock sub-sector.
Some of the issues that the academic programmes and research by the department seeks to address include: animal nutrition, feeding, breading and value addition. The department currently has 125 students.
Since establishment, JKUAT has been in the fore front in training, research and innovation in wide scope of agricultural areas. The University has equally undertaken agricultural technology transfer, empowering farmers across the country with skills, competencies and tools for agribusiness. The establishment of the department is the latest move by JKUAT towards discharging its mandate.