Dairy farmers in Trans Nzoia and Bungoma counties will benefit from training on sustainable agricultural practices in a move aimed at increasing milk production.
Brookside Dairy Limited, Kenya's largest milk processor, is training farmers on hay production under the Mt Elgon Livelihoods Project.
The training seeks to mitigate the effects of the prevailing dry conditions on milk production.
The Mt Elgon area is considered a key raw milk shed in the country. The new initiative seeks to increase milk production for each cow in the targeted area to 10 litres per day, up from a current daily average of three litres.
The processor is undertaking the project, which was launched last year, in collaboration with Livelihoods Fund, a France-based investment solutions provider and Vi Agroforestry, a development organisation.
Brookside Milk Procurement Director John Gethi said the firm will provide a guaranteed market for all the raw milk produced within the Mt Elgon project area as part of an implementation plan agreed with the other partners.
“We have identified hay production and preservation as a key area in ensuring that milk volumes remain optimum across all seasons,” he said yesterday in a statement.
“Brookside is investing in sustainable agriculture practices for farmers, including animal feed preparation and storage as one way of addressing seasonal fluctuation in milk production.”
The current dry spell has marginally shrunk raw milk volumes, forcing processors to invest in solutions designed to beat dairy farming’s dependence on rainfall. Brookside has identified five dairy co-operatives in the Mt Elgon area - Tongaren, Kapsitwet, Kiminini, Ndalu and Kiungani - to drive its animal feed preparation and preservation campaign over the next 10 years.
“Inadequate access to nutritious animal feed and water is a major challenge in sustaining production, especially in times of drought. As a major industry player, increased demand for our dairy products means we have to invest more in production of raw milk,” said Mr Gethi.
He said while the prolonged dry weather had affected Brookside’s raw milk intake volumes, it is servicing its sales orders at 100 per cent level.
Major retail outlets are currently selling a packet of 500ml long life milk at Sh55, up from Sh 50 a fortnight ago.