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Cattle Breeders in Embryo Exchange Pact With S. Africa

12 December 2007

KENYA - The Veterinary Department has stepped up efforts to improve dairy sector productivity through imports of Ayrshire embryos from South Africa.

Imported embryos are expected to help improve herd quality by breaking the inbreeding that has been rampant in local farms due to poor record keeping.

Muchemi Kariuki, the chairman of the Ayrshire Cattle Breeders Society and the deputy executive officer of the Central Artificial Insemination Station (CAIS), reckons that inbreeding weakens livestock genes making them vulnerable to diseases ultimately lowering their productivity.

“Kenya is currently operating on a narrow genetic base,” he said. In-breeing is a situation where semen from closely related bulls are use to inseminate heifers.

Importation of embryos is expected to be done under an exchange programme that will see Kenya export Boran embryos to South Africa.

East Africa Semen and Embryo Transfer Association (EASETA), which was registered last year, will manage the exchange programme.

“There is a huge market for embryos in East Africa which we must explore,” said Dr Kariuki, who also serves as the secretary of the association. The regional embryo market includes Ethiopia, Zambia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

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Source: Business Daily



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