Kiambu County has been reported to be the highest in milk production countrywide over the last five years.
In the recent report on the cost of milk production in Kenya 2021 released by Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development in terms of litres produced, Kiambu led by 4,520, followed by Meru with 4,200 while the Machakos County was the lowest with 2,640.
As stated in the Report, the mean production per cow every day was 10.1 litres with Kiambu, Meru, and Nyeri Counties registering the highest production at 12.6, 11.7 and 11.3 litres respectively. Machakos recorded the lowest production of milk at 7.3 litres.
Speaking during the launch of the Report, the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Peter Munya, commended Kiambu County dairy farmers for their good job and encouraged other farmers that they could do much better if only they took good note of the research findings.
“As a farmer, do what you are supposed to do because it starts with you focusing on what is working for you and bringing results,” said Munya.
The CS said the government is in the process of leasing the public land to commercial producers of fodder as a way of supporting pasture or fodder development which has proven to be the main challenge faced by dairy farmers in the Country.
Munya said the Government is exploring public-private partnerships for large scale production, conservation and distribution of fodder and pastures which he believes will reduce cost and improve the accessibility of fodder and feed in the Country.
“The Government is working on mechanisms to strengthen regulation of the sector, labour saving technologies such as chaff cutters and milking machines are required by dairy farmers to manage operational costs,” he added.
The report recorded underfeeding, poor housing and sub-optimal animal husbandry as the main reasons to low quantities of milk produced daily.
Further, the report revealed that most dairy farmers hardly feed their cows with at least three per cent dry matter of body weight as recommended, partly due to the country’s deficit in raw materials for feed processing, especially those for protein.
The report recommended that farmers should adopt improved breeds that are suited to the local production environment, have better access to quality and affordable feed concentrates as well as keeping small herd size to limit the profitability of the dairy enterprise.
Further the report suggested the need to embrace information and communication technologies to deliver extension information to more farmers since this may be cost effective.
By Catherine Muindi