KENYA – The Busia County agriculture revitalization program in Kenya has significantly improved the agriculture sector by providing dairy farmers with value-added equipment to enhance production quality and quantity.

As part of the program, the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Climate Smart, and Agribusiness, through the Directorate of Livestock Services, has embarked on a journey to increase milk production in the area.

By supplying value-additional equipment to dairy cooperatives, the initiative aims to improve the dairy value chain, enabling farmers to get better value for their milk and leverage the existing market gap.

Busia County produces 390,000 liters of milk against a demand of 3 million liters, necessitating the importation of milk from Uganda or other counties.

During a handover of equipment in Nambale, Chief Officer of Livestock Protection and Veterinary Services Mercy Imo urged farmers to form cooperatives to attract grants and donations, which would support value addition and elevate them out of poverty.

“We have plans to revive all our cattle dips and provide farmers with the required acaricides to help in improving animal health and hence realize increased production,” she said.

In addition, County Dairy Development Officer Maurice Khamala noted that efforts to bridge the existing market gap include the supply of dairy heifers to farmers and the provision of equipment like milk pasteurizers and milk cans to cooperatives in Matayos, Nambale, and Adungosi.

Farmers, led by Boaz Owase from Nambale Dairy Cooperative, applauded the county government, noting the initiative’s potential to propel the agriculture sector beyond the family line.

“We need to embrace the agenda of having at least one vibrant cooperative society in every ward to benefit our farmers as they engage in value addition,” Owase said.

Despite the positive developments, the dairy sector in Kenya faces several challenges, impacting the agricultural sector’s growth and affecting the lives of 40% of the population, according to a recent USAID report.

Earlier this year, dairy farmers in Kiambu County reaped the benefits of subsidized Artificial Insemination (AI) services aimed at enhancing the quality of dairy cattle breeds and improving earnings for farmers in the region.

Led by the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation, these services are being distributed across all sub-counties, aiming to enhance dairy farming practices and increase milk production.

Wilfred Mwenda, the County Executive Committee for Agriculture, highlighted the initiative’s objective of providing dairy farmers with improved breeds capable of yielding higher milk volumes, potentially doubling production from the current average of seven liters per cow per day to around twelve liters.

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