More than 30,000 small-scale farmers in Trans Nzoia and Bungoma counties will benefit from a multi-million-shilling agriculture sustainability project.
Milk processor Brookside Dairy has partnered with Livelihoods Fund, a France-based investment solutions provider and Vi Agroforestry, a development organisation in the initiative.
The project aims at boosting milk production in the Mt Elgon catchment from the current 5,000 to 135,000 litres per day over the next 10 years.
Brookside Dairy will provide market for the raw milk produced, besides working with farmers on improved dairy husbandry practices that would lead to increased milk production.
The Livelihoods Mt Elgon project, which was launched in Kitale yesterday, also seeks to attain food security for the two counties, by increasing crop yields by 30 per cent through sustainable agricultural land management. The project involves 15 cooperatives and 1,200 farmers’ groups.
“The project will secure thriving livelihoods for 30,000 smallholder farmers in the Mt Elgon catchment through increased milk and crop productivity, increased access to markets and better income from sales of farm produce,” said John Gethi, Brookside’s director of milk procurement.
According to Mr Gethi, farmers in the area will also be assisted by the three partner organisations on dairy breed improvement and feeding, which is expected to lead to increased milk production.
He noted that the current milk production per cow in the project area was five kilos per day and they intend to raise this production to 10 kilos per cow per day. Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka said his county had prioritised dairy as a key component for economic development of the rural areas. “We have given out over 400 dairy cows to smallholder farmers as a strategy to increase milk production in Bungoma,” Lusaka said.
Trans Nzoia Deputy Governor Stephen Tarus hailed the project as one way to improve the local economy. The event was also attended by Brookside Dairy Executive Chairman Muhoho Kenyatta, President of the Livelihoods Fund Bernard Giraud, Regional Director of Vi Agroforestry Anne Andersson and French food giant Danone’s CEO Emmanuel Faber.