David Bragg, founding farmer of Send a Cow, talks about the importance of semen straws for dairy farmers in Africa. 

Artificial insemination: no laughing matter

This year Send a Cow is introducing a new virtual gift that may raise a few eyebrows: a Semen Straw, priced at £5. It may not be a polite topic to discuss at the dinner table, but bovine reproduction is an important matter for dairy farmers the world over. This gift truly makes all the difference to an African farmer on the breadline.

Lower milk yields mean hunger and poverty

Most poor farmers in Africa, if they can afford a cow at all, keep a local breed. In developed countries, farmers have used selective breeding over centuries to produce desirable characteristics. In the developing world farmers have generally not had the same opportunities: their cows are usually smaller and have a lower milk yield.

Avoiding the difficulty and expense of keeping a bull

Send a Cow gives farmers training in the benefits of artificial insemination. Having semen delivered in straws not only avoids the expense, danger and inconvenience of keeping and transporting a village bull, but hybrid calves produced by cross-breeding a local cow with an exotic bull produce more milk. This is a precious source of nutrition for families, helping to prevent stunted growth and sickness in children.

Beloved cows to keep children healthy

I’ve been told by Kenyan women farmers that having a high-yielding cow has taken them from a life of poverty and hunger to a new way of living with regular money coming in from milk sales and children who are no longer sick and tired from malnutrition. Farmers often call their cows names like ‘Joy’ and ‘God’s gift’ to show how much they value them. Buy your loved one a semen straw this Christmas and give a gift that will mean the world to an African farmer. 

David Bragg, Founding Farmer & Programme Coordinator

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