Dairy farmers urged to embrace aggregate farming

Agriculture Counties Editor's Pick Kisii

Nyamira dairy farmers have been urged to embrace aggregate farming to boost their milk production and increase their income.

Dairy Board of Kenya Director Genesio Mugo, while gracing an exhibition for dairy farmers at Sironga grounds in Nyamira, observed that the trend of farmers rearing less than three cows single-handedly is not cost-effective and will plunge farmers into huge losses annually, and advised them to embrace aggregate farming to maximise profits.

“Statistics show that the cow of a perceived serious individual dairy farmer in Nyamira County produces an average of 6 litres of milk daily. This is actually not even sustainable for household use. The farmer will spend more money to maintain this kind of farming and never get any profits the entire period of their dairy farming venture,” Mugo revealed.

“When a farmer’s financial muscle is low and he lacks the capacity to rear a large flock, aggregate farming is the solution to this challenge. It will help farmers a great deal in procuring feed, seeking veterinary and other extension services, and at the same time, have the bargaining power to determine the price they want to sell their milk to customers if they are organised as a group.

“Register manageable cooperative societies to enable you to secure cheap loans to maintain and upscale your dairy farming activities so that you sustain the supply of milk to local milk consumers and processors,” Mugo advised.

Dairy Board of Kenya Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Margaret Kibogi said they have initiated capacity-building programmes where they are training dairy farmers on how to maintain the quality of their milk.

“We have initiated capacity-building and empowerment programmes for farmers registered in various dairy cooperatives in the entire country, of which Nyamira County is the very first to benefit. The programme sensitises dairy farmers on how they will enhance proper hygiene methods of handling milk to avoid it being rejected at the processing plants,” she confirmed.

“We have banned carrying milk in plastic containers since these containers accelerate the rate at which milk stored in them gets spoiled and rejected at cooling and processing plants. Milk hawking is another banned market strategy and will not grow farmers’ dairy businesses because you can’t account for your returns at any given point,” Margaret noted.

The CEO challenged the education officers to introduce the programme of supplying milk to school-going children. This programme will boost the students’ health and motivate most farmers to venture into dairy farming, for they will be assured of a ready and consistent market for their product.

Governor Amos Nyaribo promised to increase the number of milk coolers and place them at ward levels so that the cooperatives are able to do milk bulking for easy transportation to milk processing factories and other interested bulk buyers beyond Nyamira County.

“This training is very relevant and timely, and my government will support these farmers fully because dairy farming is an underutilised area of job opportunity, even for our youths, who are endlessly lamenting over joblessness. I will boost the cooperative kitty and ensure the farmers are assisted through the department of livestock to access affordable loans and other services like quality Artificial Insemination services at affordable prices to boost their breed of dairy cows,” Nyaribo said.

Nyamira County Commissioner, Onesmus Kyatha, vowed to boost security to stop cattle theft at the border areas in the county so that farmers can confidently increase their flock and double their milk production.

The Dairy Board of Kenya trained 300 dairy farmers in Nyamira County as a way of empowering them to utilise the knowledge and skills acquired to boost milk production in the county.

By Deborah Bochere

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