KENYA – The Kenyan government is urging local farmers in Kiambu County to embrace labour-saving technologies in order to enhance efficient dairy production.

Agriculture executive Wilfred Mwenda emphasized the importance of adopting modern feed cutters and utilizing quality feeds to reduce the time spent on fodder preparation.

Additionally, he urged farmers to collaborate with the government to access higher-quality semen, aiming to improve overall milk production.

During the opening of the Catholic Church’s Caritas milk processing plant at the archdiocesan farm in Tigoni, Limuru constituency, Mwenda expressed the government’s commitment to collaborating with dairy farmers to ensure increased production and better profits.

“We are committed to collaborating with dairy farmers to ensure they produce more quality milk and they enjoy the profit of the work they do,” he said.

Dairy farmer James Kinyi shared concerns about the financial burden of hiring casual labourers to feed animals, hindering many farmers from enjoying the fruits of their ventures.

Kinyi called for reduced taxation on animal feeds, making quality feeds more affordable for farmers.

“It is our prayer that the government may reduce the taxation of animal feeds so that the feed prices may reduce in order to enable us to afford quality feeds,” Kinyi said.

The event, graced by Nairobi Archbishop Phillip Anyolo, saw a call to the youth to engage in dairy farming due to its profitability, job creation potential, and contribution to food security.

Anyolo commended local farmers for supporting the church’s milk venture, leading to the establishment of a processing plant valued at Sh150 million with a daily processing capacity of 20,000 liters.

Kiambu County, in a recent report by the Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, emerged as the leading milk producer in Kenya for the past five years.

The report highlighted production figures, with Kiambu leading at 4,520 liters, followed by Meru at 4,200, and Machakos at the lowest with 2,640 liters.

Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Cooperatives, Peter Munya, lauded Kiambu County dairy farmers during the launch of the 2021 report on milk production costs.

Munya emphasized the importance of farmers focusing on what works for them, as the government explores public-private partnerships to support pasture development and reduce fodder costs.

The report identified underfeeding, poor housing, and suboptimal animal husbandry as key factors contributing to low daily milk quantities.

Recommendations included adopting improved breeds suited to local conditions, ensuring better access to affordable feed concentrates, and leveraging information and communication technologies for cost-effective extension services to farmers.

As the government works on strengthening sector regulations, Munya emphasized the need for dairy farmers to incorporate labor-saving technologies like chaff cutters and milking machines to manage operational costs effectively.