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Home / Livestock

Prolonged drought hurts milk production

Workers at Naisambu dairy farm in Trans Nzoia County use electric milking machines and sometimes milk manually in order to get milk for sale. [Peter Ochieng, Standard] 

Dairy farmers in parts of the North Rift region are registering low milk production as a result of biting drought that has diminished pasture and water levels.

For three months running, the region has not received rains and some residents have been forced to divert water from local rivers to irrigate short season crops.

Some dairy farmers expressed fear that the continued dry spell would further reduce milk production.

"Our grazing fields are dry. Water sources are also drying up. We fear milk production will go down unless it rains," said William Kimosong, a dairy farmer.

Tom Nyagechaga of the Kenya National Farmers Federation said dairy farmers in Trans Nzoia deliver between 20,000 and 60,000 litres of milk to the local New KCC factory daily.

Attractive milk prices have seen some maize farmers in the area switch to dairy farming.

By June last year, Kitale's New KCC factory had registered 10,000 new farmers. The plant was given a facelift recently which cost the national government Sh350 million.

The federation urged farmers to buy huge stocks of hay to cushion their livestock during the dry spell.

Nyagechaga said farmers should take advantage of cheap hay and buy in large quantities.

"We are expecting the worst drought and farmers should stock hay for their livestock," he said. 

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