“Ladies and gentlemen, the first steer into the ring is the reserve champion, a Boran bull weighing 665 kilos from Kenya Seed,” the auctioneer announced as a herder dragged the magnificent animal onto the stage.
This occurred on Wednesday during the annual bull auction, one of the highlights of the Nairobi International Trade Fair that is held at the Jamhuri Park.
Among the people in the audience who were ready to place their bids were President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.
“For the first time, the bull is going for Sh20,000,” the auctioneer announced as excitement grew.
“I’ll take it for Sh30,000!” a voice from the terraces shouted.
But in the blink of an eye, the auction price of the steer had climbed to Sh800,000.
It was at this point that President Kenyatta, who had been closely following the proceedings, raised his hand.
Before he could bid, Mr Sonko offered Sh1 million for the bull.
“One million, 1.2 million, 1.2 million again?” the auctioneer inquired. There were no takers.
The bull then went to the governor at Sh1 million amid thunderous applause from a crowd of spectators around the ring.
After the successful bidding, the reserve champion was marched out of the ring to give way to the “father” of the winning bulls, a giant Hereford weighing 700 kilogrammes, also from Kenya Seed Company Ltd.
“Next on the stage is the supreme champion bull,” the auctioneer announced as he rang the bell for the start of bidding.
“Who will take the bull at Sh25,000?” the auctioneer inquired as the bids opened.
“Sh50,000 here!” someone shouted. “Sh750,000,” Mr Sonko offered.
“Sh750,000 … Sh850,000?” inquired the commentator.
“Sh900,000 here,” someone from the crowd said.
After some more offers were put on the table, the steer eventually went to President Kenyatta, who bought it for Sh1.2 million.
He then donated it to the Kenya Police Service in Nairobi County.
Every year, during the Nairobi trade fair, farmers from across the country parade their best livestock before a team of judges, who inspect and then crown the winning bulls.
As in the last 36 years, the chief judge was Mandera West MP Adan Haji Yusuf, who is also a livestock expert.
Mr Yusuf was assisted by Mr Coen van Tonder from South Africa.
“The competition only allows for bulls weighing 400 kilos and above. There are also other numerous veterinary regulations. For instance, the animal should have ancestral (historical) and health records,” Mr Yusuf said.
This year, there were 101 entries for the competition, and Kenya Seed won in the most coveted “supreme champion” category.
The firm has been producing champion bulls for the last five years.