Kirinyaga County will spend Sh58.5 million to support dairy farmers in the county during the current financial year.
The support will go towards the purchase of milk processing equipment, power backup generators, a milk tanker and sponsoring Artificial Insemination (AI) services.
Governor Anne Waiguru said that through a partnership between the county government and the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP), 62 dairy farmers’ groups have been supported with Sh31 million for improvement of dairy cattle breeds through artificial insemination and on-farm feed formation and silage making.
Improving the county’s dairy breeds, which will be done in collaboration with Kenya Animal Genetic Resources Centre (KAGRC), will enhance milk production and ensure that dairy cows have a stronger immune system.
“The ultimate goal of this programme is to ensure that farmers increase their milk production and get more value from it so that they can uplift their living standards,” said the governor.
She noted that the county was aiming at increasing milk production from the current daily average of four litres per farmer to about 13 litres, which she added would be made possible through the improvement of the existing cattle breeds.
Governor Waiguru added that another Sh27.5 million will go into the installation of semi-automated yoghurt production units for Rung’eto and Kirima Dairy Farmers Cooperative Societies, installation of a 150KV power backup generator and its housing for Podago Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society and procurement of a 10,000 litres milk hauler for Rung’eto Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society.
Kirima Dairy Cooperative Society Manager, Beth Kariuki, said that the support will go a long way in enhancing the productivity of the society.
She also said once they get the yoghurt production unit, they will be able to upscale their yoghurt production to commercial levels.
The manager added that the equipment will enable them to add value to their milk which will in turn translate to better earnings for the farmers.
“Improved returns will act as an incentive to farmers and make them add more dairy cattle to increase milk production for more income,” she said.
Governor Waiguru further added that in the last three years, the county government has supported the dairy sector through the installation of milk cooling machines for dairy cooperative societies as well as offering the required technical extension services to farmers.
By Mutai Kipngetich