Taita Taveta dairy farmers bank on county plan to boost production
Monday, May 27, 2019 19:55
By LUCY MKANYIKA
Dairy farmers in Taita Taveta County are banking on the new plans by the county government to boost production and income.
The county’s executive for Agriculture and Livestock, Davis Mwangoma, said the devolved unit is now focused on increasing acreage under pasture and fodder that currently stands at 250 acres.
The county government is also providing subsidised Artificial Insemination (AI) services to farmers.
“We introduced a subsidised artificial insemination programme which has so far benefitted 2,700 farmers. We are targeting over 3,000 calves each year,” he said. The subsidised semen goes for Sh200 instead of Sh2,000.
He said cows have been serviced with various breeds that include Guernsey, Friesian, Ayrshire, Boran, Jersey and Sahiwal.
Farmers from Werugha, Mghange, Kishushe, Rong’e, Bura, Mbale and Sagalla have benefitted.
More farmers are also taking dairy as a serious enterprise and are increasingly investing in fodder conservation and water harvesting for their cows.
The county has partnered with with Brookside Dairy Company to train farmers on fodder production, animal breeding and ways of maintaining milk quality from the farm gates to the collection centres.
Brookside’s director of milk procurement and manufacturing John Gethi said an increasing number of farmers in the Coast region are adopting dairy farming due to assured income from milk sales.
He asked farmers to continue marketing their milk through the formal sector players like processors to gain more income. “The formal milk market continues to yield immense benefits to dairy farmers through guaranteed payment for milk delivered and coordinated extension services,” Mr Gethi said.
“Both the county and national governments also benefit from the formal market through remittance of taxes by processors.”
The processor’s Wumingu milk cooling plant is currently handling more than 5,000 litres of milk daily. The rise in the volumes of deliveries is attributed to increased adoption of modern farm practices.
Mr Gethi challenged farmers to invest in high yielding cow breeds.
“There is also a need to maintain quality feeding for cows. The efficiency of feed conversion into milk must be a factor that all farmers continuously manage to ensure cost-effective milk production,” Mr Gethi said.