The Star (Nairobi)

20 August 2011

Kenya: Central Kenya Dairy Farmers Net Sh 18 Billion in 2010

Director of Veterinary Services Peter Maina Ithondeka said that Nyeri County alone earned Sh 3 billion after the sales of milk.

The director was speaking at Karatina stadium in Nyeri County during the official opening of the one day field day /grand exhibition. Ithondeka was representing the Livestock Minister Mohammed Kuti who was expected to be the chief guest during the occasion.

In the minister's speech, Kuti said the annual milk production countrywide has increased from 2.8 billion litres in year 2002 to almost 4 billion litres in year 2008. "The milk producer prices, with the support of Government, have also improved over the current average price of about Sh 25 per liter. In year 2008, the sub-sector exported dairy products worth over Sh 1 billion in the East African Community and other countries," said the minister.

The volumes of milk processed and marketed have also increased to almost 400 million litres in year 2008 compared to 145 million litres processed in year 2002. The Minister however decried of the many challenges in the sector including the current drought which has severely affected the livestock production and in some cases leading to poor health and death of livestock. "It is therefore becoming increasingly important for the farmers to embrace feed conservation technologies to ensure feeds from the rush season are conserved for lean times. The extension staff is training and building the capacity of farmers so as to improve service delivery," added the minister.

Kuti said his ministry is in the process of creating a legislative framework to address all matters of livestock feeds in the country. "Other legislative framework that my ministry is pursuing in order to improve the environment for livestock production in this country include the Livestock policy, Dairy policy, Dairy bill and Breeding policy among others," Kuti added.

The field day whose theme was 'Livestock Development for Socio-economic Prosperity' was organized by the Kenya Livestock Producers Association. The association chairman Geoffrey Gikungu and CEO Patrick Kimani also attended the function. Gikungu lamented that the livestock production cost is becoming increasingly high with cost of feeding, diseases control and animal breeding becoming high.

The field day attended by over 8,000 farmers from around the country and with about 50 exhibitors was aimed to create an opportunity for learning and interaction among farming communities and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector such as agrochemical companies and livestock feed manufacturers.

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