KENYA – New Kenya Co-operative Creameries ltd, in collaboration with Nakuru County, has rolled out a comprehensive training campaign targeting more than 2,000 dairy farmers to revolutionize their livestock management practices through an innovative climate-smart training initiative.
The initiative is aimed at enhancing the cost-efficiency and quality of dairy production in the region by empowering local farmers with skills in silage production and forage preservation.
Mr. Samuel Ngotho, the Regional Sales Manager of New KCC, unveiled this ambitious project during a stakeholders’ meeting at the County headquarters.
He highlighted the primary goal of the campaign, which is to equip dairy farmers with the knowledge and tools needed to produce high-quality and abundant animal feeds throughout the year.
According to Ngotho, the initiative is designed not only to boost dairy productivity but also to address the challenges posed by climate change.
He noted that most livestock farmers rely on pasture-based systems, making feed availability highly seasonal.
Ngotho emphasized the critical role of silage as a supplementary feed during dry seasons, and the training program will instruct farmers on its production and utilization.
The manager also stressed the importance of reducing operational costs on dairy farms, especially given the rising prices of commercial feeds.
He encouraged farmers to invest in dairy cattle breeds that are not only prolific milk producers but also have lower feed requirements, particularly during adverse weather conditions.
Kenya’s dairy sector contributes approximately 14 percent of the country’s agricultural GDP, with a majority of milk produced by smallholder farmers.
The sector is home to over five million dairy cattle, producing an estimated four billion liters of milk annually. This production is projected to increase by 150 percent by 2050.
Nakuru County Deputy Governor, Mr. David Kones, emphasized the significance of the training program in unlocking the potential of the dairy sub-sector, which is estimated to be worth US$169.3 million within the devolved unit.
He outlined various challenges facing dairy farmers, including the high cost of animal feeds, inadequate infrastructure, limited access to markets, and low-value addition.
In addition, to address these issues, the county is collaborating with development partners and research institutions to develop strategies that will increase milk production per animal to at least 15 liters, potentially resulting in US$169.3 million in annual earnings.
Records from the County’s Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries Department revealed that the region currently has 310,000 dairy animals, each yielding an average of 5 liters per day. However, this falls far short of the global average of 24.5 liters per cow per day.