Guaranteed payment for milk delivered to processors in Trans Nzoia has seen more farmers venture into the dairy enterprise as a source of regular family income.

Farmers In Trans Nzoia Turn To Dairy Farming With Guaranteed Income

The farmers, who were previously involved in maize cultivation, said regular and guaranteed payments from raw milk sales to processors had enabled them to meet their household budget needs.

“Previously, most of the milk produced in Trans Nzoia and parts of Bungoma counties was for subsistence purposes with most farmers involved in commercial maize farming. With the entry of large processors like Brookside Dairy in the two counties, we are now seeing a trend where more farmers are opting to sell their milk to dairy co-operatives contracted by the processor in the areas,” Robert Makhanu, chairman of Nzoia Dairy Co-operative Union, said on Monday during a fodder distribution exercise Brookside Dairy organised in Kitale.

Brookside Dairy, a leading market player in the North Rift, says it will continue to invest in building the capacity of smallholder farmers in the area, as it seeks further increase its raw milk collection footprint in the country.

Emmanuel Kabaki, Brookside milk procurement general manager, said apart from providing a guaranteed market for raw milk, the processor is also working with dairy groups across the country in the provision of fodder planting material as a climate-smart intervention to ensure better nutrition for dairy cows, for increased milk production.

Quality animal feed

Mr Kabaki, who oversaw the distribution of super napier stems to smallholder farmers, said the grass is a high-yielding green fodder that can give an output of up to 200 tonnes of forage per acre each year.

“We intend to boost accessibility of forage material by our farmers, by providing planting material for superior cultivars of fodder. In the long run, this will help bring down the cost of animal feed on the farms,” he said.

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Mr Kibaki added that Brookside was committed to assisting farmers to conserve quality animal feed to ensure that milk production remains at optimum levels across all seasons of the year.

Trans Nzoia county director of co-operatives, Hosea Serem, commended Brookside for building the capacity of co-operatives in the area through training in corporate governance.

He said dairy co-operatives had enabled farmers to benefit from economies of scale through the bulking of raw milk, which in turn was sold to processors.

By Evans Jaola

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