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UK, Egerton varsities pact to benefit Kenyan livestock keepers

By Milliam Murigi
Tuesday, April 28th, 2020
Narok county Governor Samuel Ole Tunai vaccinates cows in Narok during the signing of an Mou signing between his government and KCB Foundation dubbed Mifugo ni Mali. Photo/PD/WAHINYA HENRY

Milliam Murigi @millymur1

Livestock owners stand to benefit from new research led by Coventry University, which aims at improving grazing and livestock performance.

 The two-year project Evaluating The Potential of Intensive Grazing and Corralling to Enhance Ecosystem services in Africa’s Communal Rangelands will investigate the added value to local ecosystems and people of more intensive grazing and corralling of livestock (putting the animals in a kraal or boma) in the East African country. 

 Dr James Bennett from Coventry University’s Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) will conduct the research in collaboration with Dr Wilfred Odadi from Egerton University, courtesy of a Sh6.5 million (£49,980) grant from the Royal Society through Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The February 2020-February 2022 collaboration has been funded through the Future Leaders African Independent Research (Flai) programme. “Pastoralists in many parts of Africa are facing declining land availability and quality.

Adopting alternative livestock management techniques that deliver greater ecosystem benefits will be critical to the social and ecological viability of these production systems over the longer term,” says Benenett.

 He says adopting the intensive grazing and livestock corralling techniques in place of pastoralism husbandry practices should boost pasture production by concentrating nutrients in small areas. 

This will lead to improved livestock performance and hence greater livelihood benefits for local pastoralists who rely on their animals for the majority of their food and income.

 Dr Odadi is part of  20 of Africa’s promising early career researchers who have partnered with experienced scientists from the UK to develop their careers, bolster international networks and address global challenges via the Flair Collaboration Grants. The Africans researchers, are pairing with researchers from the UK.