KENYA – The dairy farmers in Kenya’s Uasin Gishu county are planning to form a union to collectively relinquish the obstacles they face in the sector as a team.
The dairy sector is dominated by small-scale farmers and is the most developed livestock subsector in Kenya and farmers are banding together in an attempt to better themselves and their livelihoods.
The most common route is the cooperative route with more than 200 farmer-owned dairy cooperatives existing across the country.
Dairy cooperatives have rapidly grown and are today some of the major producers of processed milk in the country.
Recently, a stakeholder engagement meeting was held by the county government of Uasin Gishu in an attempt to ponder on ways how the union will be formed.
During the meeting, the agriculture CEC Edward Sawe said the main objective of the union is to improve milk volume and quality, improve access to feeds, improve dairy production of small-holder farmers and also improve the members’ access to dairy machinery and equipment.
He also said that the union would improve dairy market access which the farmers will use to eradicate the need for brokers and middlemen by sharing their prices among the members of the union.
With the major constraints in the dairy sector being animal diseases, ineffective technology, and poor quantity and quality of soil among others, Mr Edward Sawe also said that the county is set to distribute lime to farmers to curb the recently recognized problem of high soil acidity in the country.
Uasin Gishu governor Jonathan Bii Nguzo recently launched an initiative called “Save a life” meant to allocate relief to hunger-stricken areas. The initiative woos Kenyans to donate food and any other forms of aid to the needy.
It is also said to prioritise agriculture through interventions such as the formation of practical economic empowerment programs like the dairy union which will help the sector venture into value addition, according to County Economic advisor Philip Meli.
Majority of Kenyan farmers derive their sources of livelihood from the dairy sector as part of the agriculture sector as a whole, and with recent market trends and how small-scale farmers are dominating the market, the dairy sector appears to have great potential and future.
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