Kenya and Malawi

Recently (2012-2014) LU was involved in USAID-supported and USDA Foreign Agriculture Service-administered projects to enhance capacity for research, teaching, technology transfer, and community development programs with Egerton University in Kenya and Bunda College of Agriculture in Malawi. Bunda College of Agriculture did not have a well-equipped laboratory for evaluating the quality of feedstuffs consumed by livestock, which constrained animal science research, student training, extension activities, and optimal animal management practices. Therefore, a laboratory with most essential instruments and supplies was established, inclusive of associated training. The laboratory will also conduct fee-based analyses of feed composition for outside clientele. Other interventions to improve management of animals at Bunda included repair of an irrigation system and purchase and planning of use of improved forages and tree legumes for enhanced nutritional planes. Relatedly, there was technical assistance provided in feeding and health management. Training in artificial insemination included collection and use of fresh semen as well as the frozen form. In this regard, frozen semen of Boer and Saanen goats was imported from the US for use in crossbreeding with indigenous goats in nearby villages to increase milk and(or) meat production.

Egerton University has had an ongoing dairy goat community development project. However, a scarcity of purebred animals has limited potential program scope. Hence, genetic diversity was broadened by importing live Toggenburg, Alpine, and Saanen goats from South Africa and frozen semen of Toggenburg and Saanen goats from the US. These activities and related training in artificial insemination and surgical preparation of teaser bucks for heat detection led to the establishment and strengthening of a Dairy Goats Improvement Centre with improved breeds highly selected for milk production. Goats of the existing herd at Egerton are being inseminated with fresh and frozen semen for improved milk production and later distribution in the community. Moreover, a community fee-based artificial insemination program, inclusive of motorcycles equipped with coolers, is being established to ensure program sustainability. Training provided in areas such as health and veterinary care, feeding management, record-keeping, and day-to-day management practices will contribute to development as a model farm for dissemination of a preferred overall management program package for highly productive dairy goats in Kenya and the East Africa region. For realization of maximal economic impact from an intervention such as that represented by the Centre, value-added processing is critical. Thus, there was training in the making of various types of cheeses from goat milk.

Through these activities in Kenya and Malawi, Langston University gained additional knowledge and insightful perspectives concerning challenges in higher education institution function in developing countries for student education, research, and extension to improve livelihoods of livestock holders.