Molo Sheep

Kenya

Rift Valley

Breeds and animal husbandry

Back to the archive >
Molo Sheep

The Molo sheep is easily distinguished from others: It is white and completely covered with a thick coat, including on its forehead and cheeks, forming a sort of beard that surrounds its face. It has a small and stocky body, short legs and a very long tail. Its early history is linked to colonialism and marginalization of the local tribes, but over time, it has become an important resource for local communities.
It has been bred in the homonymous region of Kenya since the beginning of the 20th century. This local, well-adapted breed originally comes from three British breeds: Corriadale, Hampshire Down and Romney Marsh. The arrival of these three sheep in Kenya dates back to the late 19th century, when British settlers arrived in the so-called White Highlands to build a railway between Kenya and Uganda. The substantial cost of this project resulted in strong criticism from Britain, subsided only with the promise of fertile land for English settlers. From 1901, certain areas of the highlands become reserved solely for European farmers; local communities such as the Maasai were confined to reservations. The cool and rainy climate in the highlands (2,500 meters above sea level) provided ideal conditions for raising English sheep breeds.
Over time, the mix of breeds resulted in the type that exists today. Molo sheep are very hardy and resistant to disease. They give birth several times a year, unrelated to seasons, and are slaughtered from the age of six months, when they reach an average weight of 14 kilograms. The tender and succulent meat is highly valued: Baked, roasted or steamed, it is still an integral part of ceremonies such as weddings. The wool is also high quality, used by local women to make bags, mats and dolls.

Back to the archive >
After Kenyan independence in 1963, sheep farms began to be neglected and the agri- cultural development project that had been designed for the Molo highlands collapsed. The situation was compounded further by subdivision of land, which left little space for sheep farming. Today, although it is universally recognized as one of the best sheep in the country, there are just a handful of farmers who continue to breed it. It is rarely found on the menus of hotels and restaurants. The Presidium was set up in 2014 as part of an ecotourism project. Slow Food Kenya and the NGO NECOFA (Network for Ecofarming in Africa) have organized training to improve breeding, animal welfare and the production chain linked to meat and wool.

Production area
Molo highlands, Nakuru county
160 people gathered in six breeders’ associations and 27 women who process the wool, gathered in the Karunga Women’s Group
Presidium producers cooordinator
John Wachira
Tel. +254 721930498

Presidium coordinator
Samson Kiiru Ngugi
Tel. +254 719100913
s.ngugi@slowfood.it
After Kenyan independence in 1963, sheep farms began to be neglected and the agri- cultural development project that had been designed for the Molo highlands collapsed. The situation was compounded further by subdivision of land, which left little space for sheep farming. Today, although it is universally recognized as one of the best sheep in the country, there are just a handful of farmers who continue to breed it. It is rarely found on the menus of hotels and restaurants. The Presidium was set up in 2014 as part of an ecotourism project. Slow Food Kenya and the NGO NECOFA (Network for Ecofarming in Africa) have organized training to improve breeding, animal welfare and the production chain linked to meat and wool.

Production area
Molo highlands, Nakuru county
160 people gathered in six breeders’ associations and 27 women who process the wool, gathered in the Karunga Women’s Group
Presidium producers cooordinator
John Wachira
Tel. +254 721930498

Presidium coordinator
Samson Kiiru Ngugi
Tel. +254 719100913
s.ngugi@slowfood.it

Territory

StateKenya
RegionRift Valley

Other info

CategoriesBreeds and animal husbandry