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East African farmers urged to crossbreed indigenous flocks

Pastoralists in dry rangelands of East Africa have been urged to crossbreed their indigenous flocks with dorper breed to boost their drought and disease resilience, a new study by the Nairobi based Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) revealed

Researchers at the institute found that sheep traders in dry rangelands of Kenya preferred purebred imported Dorper as well as Dorper cross-breeds.

In the study conducted in Kajiado County, ILRI partnered with non-governmental organizations Concern Worldwide Kenya and Neighbourhood Initiative Alliance aiming to obtain purchase behaviour of sheep traders in Kenya.

“Traders are a first source of market information for sheep producers. Understanding their preferences is important when designing interventions to help small-scale sheep farmers commercialize their production,’ said Nadhem Mtimet, an agricultural economist working with ILRI’s Policy, Trade and Value Chains programme.

More than 100 traders in three livestock markets of Kiserian, Mile 46 and Bissil were interviewed about sheep trading and the number they buy their preferred markets.

“We found that traders place most value on purebred exotic sheep such as the Dorper, as well as Dorper crossbred animals, especially the red Maasai”, said Mtimet.        

Mwangi Mumero