Livestock farming in Kisumu is highly evolving in response to the rapidly increasing demand for dairy products in the county.
It is in this regard that the county department of Agriculture and livestock has embarked on the donation of the dairy livestock to farmers to maximize dairy production to improve food security. The department adopted the Governor’s agenda which aims to revitalize agriculture for food security and agribusiness.
Given the importance of livestock in the economic livelihoods of low-income earners, improvement of livestock production and particularly dairy farming is globally considered a promising avenue for supporting and improving household welfare.
In a bid to reinforce the dairy farmers across the county, the County directorate of livestock embarked on issuing dairy animals and poultry to promising farmers who were carefully selected and were prepared to own and keep the dairy animals’.
About 454 in-calf dairy cows have been evenly distributed to farmers in Kisumu since the year 2017 to date, with the recent distribution of 24 in-calves worth 3.1 million issued to farmers across the 7 sub-counties.
Some of the beneficiaries of the distribution include Seme dairy cooperatives in Seme Sub-county, Seke farmers dairy cooperative in Kisumu West, Kajulu Dairy cooperative in Kisumu East , Ahero farmers dairy cooperatives in Nyando , Osiepe practical Action in Muhoroni and individual farmers including, Samwel Ochieng, Mary ondego and Linet Ouko of South East Nyakach among others.
According to the CEC Member for Agriculture and livestock Mr. Gilchrist Okuom, the County government has invested in Agriculture and livestock production as a way of improving livelihoods.
Mr. Okuom also acknowledges that the department has concentrated on the high potential areas such as South East Nyakach Ward in Nyakach Sub County which he says has presented a positive performance in dairy farming. Mr. Okuom congratulated the Member of County Assembly for southeast Nyakach, Hon. Johnson Guya for the continuous investment in dairy livestock farming through development funds to the benefit of the ward.
The Southeast Nyakach ward has been earmarked as the model ward in dairy farming. Small scale farmers in the area are engaging in dairy cattle, showing prospects in the sector with a vision of becoming competitive through fostering the cooperative society and mobilizing sufficient resources to invest in modernizing and expanding the dairy enterprises.
Dairy farmers are encouraged to focus on the value addition of dairy products and this can be achieved through the formation of cooperatives. It is worth noting that by acting collectively, dairy farmers seek to overcome constraints in the marketing of their products. They need to be assured of a secure market that is real and can be met by dairy farmers cooperatively, establishing their collection system.
The department led by the CEC Member has promised to work together with the farmers to invest more in dairy farming through the donation of the animals and also providing modern technological expertise including Artificial insemination (AI) and other veterinary services
Mr. Okuom affirms that so far the previous herds of in-calves issued to farmers are healthy and he encourages farmers to change from traditional cattle to grade cows as a means to improving livelihoods. “In the face of livestock theft, dairy cattle are the best alternative to the people of Nyakach and also a means to maximizing profits due to its value addition.” Stated Mr. Okuom.
Hon. Guya is one of the MCA’s who has often invested the ward development fund in support of the dairy production with confidence that dairy cattle’s profitability outweighs traditional cattle farming in the area.
The department is hopeful that despite the challenges, Opportunities in dairy farming are more attractive and that the growth occurring in the dairy sector would create demands for supportive inputs and services in knowledge application herd health and breeding.
The challenges experienced in dairy production in the county include limited, untimely support on veterinary and extension services. However, the CEC member promises to strengthen Artificial Insemination (AI) support to dairy farming and widespread extension services that will be available on demand.
Follow-up mechanisms to support the farmers through extension services, monitoring and evaluation have been put in place to help the department in assessing the progress of livestock invested by the county government as a way of ensuring sustainability.
“As a department, we are committed to supporting farmers’ to improve the quality of dairy production” stated Chief Officer Agriculture and livestock Madam Rosemary Raluoch.
The department also invests in improved day-old chicks and Dorpe rams in which youth groups women groups and people living with disabilities have benefited from the over 21,119-day old chicks as well as 35 rams for improved livelihood.
By Matilda Atieno