Otsyula Gives Insights on Dairy Farming In Kenya


Dairy farming is not only an economically viable farming enterprise but a long time practice within our families. Many have for a long time depended on it as a source of income and wealth.

In the recent past especially after the introduction of structural adjustment program and liberalization dairy farming has been under persistent threat.

Dairy is a fragile value chain that is easily negatively impacted by small variations such as long dry spells, increased costs of feeds, substandard mineral supplements and fluctuations in the market.

The government has put two policies worth mentioning;

1. Including milk and milk products among strategic food reserve components, which is done through the processors. This ensures  preservation of milk when production is high and steady supply during low season.

2. Availing subsidized fertiliser which will have an effect on cost of crop production.

However the above interventions have not solved the problems in the sector there are several pending issues, I will only deal with two, quality and quantity of feeds and quality of minerals.

The intervention of provision of fertilizer will not bring down cost of feeds because in feed formulation proteins account 70% of the cost of raw materials. For some reason soya and sunflower are not farmed to a reasonable scale.

The animal feeds industry depends on imports whose quality is compromised. The ministry of Agriculture should find a way of introducing soy beans, sunflower and cotton to provide the cakes locally.

Kenya bureau of standards should be vigilant in providing market surveillance to ensure quality of feeds and mineral offered to the market.

Finally for dairy to turn around capacity along the value chain must be built, this can be either through establishment of an extension service or better still to develop a farmer training program. Such a program can be run at the various FTCs in the counties on a cost sharing arrangements.

In the long run the second option might be cheaper and more productive.

Parting short hunger is the most humiliating form of poverty yet milk is a complete meal.

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