By Matilda Atieno,
Small-scale farmers in Kisumu have a reason to smile as the County Government department of Agriculture and Livestock issued out four motorized silage-chopping machines as well as the construction of hey hub to supplement livestock feed production for the dairy cooperatives.
The four silage choppers will go to the four dairy cooperative societies including Nyabondo dairy cooperative in Nyakach, Seke dairy cooperative in Kisumu West, Kajulu dairy cooperative in Kisumu East and Seme dairy cooperative in Seme sub-county.
At a cost of 3.5M, the motorized silage chopping machine and a construction of a hey hub is set to provide crop to livestock linkages with value addition, creation of more opportunities in farming and increase in livestock feed supply for the farmers.
While handing over the machines to cooperatives the CEC member for Agriculture and livestock Mr. Gilchrist Okuom emphasized that agricultural mechanization is one of Governor Nyong’os visions of empowering farmers through cooperatives, with efforts to provide equipment that would match farmers’ realities. The CEC member encouraged farmers to embrace the silage chopper for their own benefit and to use it for income generation, sentiments echoed by the chief officer Rosemary Raluoch.
It is worth noting that the mechanization of animal feeds gives a high efficiency in cutting digestible animal feeds that are of high quality and nutritious to the dairy livestock. It is an important strategy to increase productivity and reduce the drudgery of farming operations. The chopper is movable with two wheels design, used to chop dry or wet crops to feed animals. Its production capacity is 2200r/minute, intended to minimize Wastage of feeds as it can process all kinds of grass and straws.
The machine operation requires a trained technician to ensure efficiency in the management of the silage chopper. The CEC member urged the cooperatives to formulate a strong supporting infrastructure for transportation and repairs by seconding one of their own for training in order to ensure proper maintenance and operations and providing services in a more sustainable manner.
Mr. OKuom also noted the motorized silage chopper is a demand-driven mechanization effort based on the county’s need for a sustainable food supply and creation of job inclusivity.
Apart from making silage for sale, farmers can also utilize the machine to chop grass and straws for animal feeds and the surplus to be collectively stored in the hay ban for conservation.
With the effects of climate change in the region, farmers with limited production capacity for animal feeds have a challenge in finding enough feed during the dry season and maintaining good milk production.
Mr. Richard Okumu one of the beneficiaries and a member of the Kajulu dairy cooperative was great full for the motorized silage chopper stating that the silage is designed to ease production, create job opportunities and increase the value of feeds.
The representatives of the cooperative societies received the silage chopping machines on behalf of their members.