KENYA – Elgeyo Marakwet County has expanded its dairy cattle giveaway, aimed at bolstering its agricultural landscape to increase milk production in the region.

In an earnest effort to empower local farmers, the County recently disbursed 120 heads of dairy cows to residents of Upper Sambirir Ward in Marakwet East.

This strategic move is meant to bolster the dairy farming sector and amplify economic opportunities for the farming community.

The allocation of these dairy cows emerged following a meticulous selection process, where farmers from Kipkaner, Koibatek, and Sambirir were identified through a comprehensive public participation exercise conducted in public barazas.

The County Executive for Agriculture and Livestock Edwin Seroney underscored that beneficiaries had to meet specific criteria, including provisions for fodder, water, and adequate shelter, to qualify for the allocation of a heifer.

He said verification was carried out by livestock department personnel and local chiefs to ensure compliance with the set conditions.

“We sent staff from the livestock department and area chiefs to confirm that those selected had made the set conditions,” he added.

The estimated production from these cows, averaging five liters per day per cow, foresees an annual yield of approximately 220 liters, potentially generating over Sh10 million in revenue, considering the current selling price of Sh50 per liter, which will positively impact the economy.

Expressing gratitude towards the residents of Sambirir for their increased support to the agriculture and livestock department, Seroney pointed out the sector’s dual role in productivity and its potential to spur the county’s economy.

He also elaborated on the forthcoming wealth creation bill, a part of Governor Wisley Rotich’s Pesa Mfukoni program, while encouraging each family to engage in cash crop cultivation or dairy value chains on a minimum of half an acre.

The purchase of the dairy cattle was made possible through the active participation of the farmers, who allocated Sh6 million towards the purchase of the cattle during a public participation forum.

To date, the county has distributed a total of 4,000 heifers, signifying the positive impact of dairy farming on the region’s agricultural landscape.

Some of the beneficiaries like Grace Kirop and Hosea Cheboi, expressed their appreciation for the County’s commitment in uplifting their living standards.

At the same time, the county executive for Cooperatives Robert Kangogo encouraged the beneficiaries to join the Sambirir Dairy Farmers’ Cooperative Society to maximize benefits.

This cooperative approach will help farmers access resources, markets, and valuable support to improve their dairy businesses.

Livestock Chief Officer Robert Lagat also revealed plans to renovate cattle dips in the area and enhance artificial insemination services to ensure the availability of high-quality livestock.

On the other hand, Agriculture Chief Officer Edwin Komen stressed the significance of proper feeding, pest, and disease control, and the implementation of a closed system of management to augment fodder production.

“The distributed cows were diligently de-wormed and vaccinated against foot and mouth disease before being handed over to the farmers to ensure their health and productivity,” Komen said.

“This comprehensive initiative not only augments the dairy industry but also stands as a testament to the County’s commitment to uplifting agricultural prosperity and bolstering the local economy in Sambirir.”