KENYA – Over 190,000 dairy farmers in several counties in the country have managed to double their dairy production from 2 litres to 8 litres per cow boosting their incomes, through USAID-funded project.
The project has been initiated to boost milk production in 12 counties, Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, Homa Bay, Vihiga, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Kisii, Kitui, Makueni and Taita Taveta counties following interventions rolled out by the Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems (KCDMS) project.
According to KCDMS Chief of Party (CoP) Dr. Robert Mwandime, through the project farmers have benefited from improved breeds and nutrition, which has seen an increase in the country’s dairy herd, narrowing the gap in milk production.
“The demand for milk in the country is high and through these interventions, we are now producing about 60–70% of the milk consumed in the country,” he said.
He added that farmers were determined to bridge the gap in production and called for support from the national and county governments to make the country’s milk sufficient.
“The dairy sector is capable of providing employment opportunities for millions of Kenyans and the interventions rolled out through KCDMS will go a long way in addressing challenges facing the sector,” he noted.
KCDMS Dairy Coordinator Brenda Aluda attributed the success of the program to breed improvement and deployment of modern technology in the project operation areas.
She added that farmers have also benefited from extension services, improved breeding technologies, including artificial insemination, which has seen a marked improvement in their breeds, impacting positively on production.
Aluda said when the project started, most of the farmers had traditional Zebu cows producing 1-4 litres per day, adding that with the improvements, the project targets hitting at least 10 litres per day.
Speaking on the same occasion, Kisumu governor’s spouse Dorothy Nyongo lauded the project, saying farmers in the area were set to reap big rewards from the sector.
“The partnership has helped a lot and we are looking forward to seeing livelihoods improved so that our people can produce more milk and get proper nutrition,” she said.
Meanwhile the government has also engaged with the country’s dairy sector in the move of boosting the milk production to enhance self –sufficiency through local production.
Earlier this year, the government invested US$14 million towards the modernization of factories managed by state-owned dairy processing company, the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) to increase its processing capacity.