Enterprise Sets Up Service Centres for Livestock Farmers

Monday, March 12, 2012

A social enterprise has opened 16 livestock service centres to help farmers improve production through better extension services.

Sidai Africa, owned by Farm Africa, has stepped in to fill a void left in the early 1990s when the World Bank -backed Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) saw field officers retrenched and employment frozen for a decade.

The centres in Rift Valley and North Eastern provinces will act as one stop shops offering clinical services, semen and artificial insemination as well as livestock products like feeds, drugs, vaccines and agrochemicals.

“Small-scale traders suffer up to 50 per cent mortality rates on their livestock caused by preventable diseases.

Each of our franchises will provide quality animal husbandry goods and services to farmers and pastoralists to help them realise more returns from their investments,” said Antony Wainaina, the managing director of Sidai Africa.

Speaking at the launch of the Kitengela Sidai Africa franchise, the director of livestock production Mr Julius Kiptarus said that the recently enacted Veterinary Surgeons and Para-Professionals Act provides for pluralism in provision of extension services.

“Extension services, if functioning effectively, improve agricultural productivity by providing farmers with information that helps them to optimise their use of limited resources,” said Dr Christie Peacock, CEO of FARM Africa, a UK based charity that owns Sidai Africa.

Data from the Economic survey shows that small farms contributed 72 per cent of total agricultural production marketed in 2010. Despite accounting for the largest production share of agricultural products, they have little or no access to professional extension services.

The firm said it will spend about Sh500 million in the next three years to extend its livestock field services to reach more than 300,000 livestock-keeping households through a nationwide network of 150 outlets.

Sidai is targeting to transform traditional agro-veterinary shops into supermarket-like outlets that offer livestock farmers a personalised and interactive shopping experience for goods and services.

Source: Business Daily (link opens in a new window)

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