The County Government of Kisumu in partnership with the western region counties plan to undertake steps to boost dairy milk production by setting up a major cooling plant and to offer extension services to dairy farmers in the region.

Speaking at the Regional Sustainable Development Forum,the Kisumu County Governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o challenged the Lake Region Economic Block,an alliance of 13 counties to step up efforts to tap the immense potential the region has in dairy production. If successful the region will not only produce dairy supplies but also control the dairy market share and bring an end to external dairy consumption in the region.

The region,he said,relied heavily on dairy products from external regions and that it was mandatory they make way for self-sustainability and consume from their own. Kisumu County also shares a common goal with the other counties to boost horticultural produce and are ready to partner with players of the same ideology.

“we must take farming seriously and the County Government is putting plans in motion to ensure that all its farmers benefit for continued productivity. Muhoroni Sub County is a perfect location for the setting up of a milk cooler plant, and if constructed the hub will serve dairy farmers and increase dairy production. Kisumu county has all the infrastructure and has untapped potential that must be exhausted” says the Governor.

 According to the Governor,the expansion of the Kisumu International Airport has opened the gateway for external markets and the plans are underway to set up cargo handling facilities to ease the transportation of products in and out of the region.

Agriculture,he said,is key to the future of the County residents, hence urged the stakeholders to collectively nurture and exploit its full potential. He also pointed out the gains sorghum farmers made after the East African Breweries Limited(EABL) announced the setting of a ksh.15 billion beer processing plant in the County.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Chief of party Dr. Steve Naw noted that information deficiency was the key contributor to the slow growth of dairy farming in the region as most farmers were unaware of the critical role horticulture played in   the economy.

“owning land and being a farmer are two different things and the two must be separated if we are to improve dairy production,elimination of dairy pretenders in the industry is the first step in rebuilding the market. Relevant authorities and players must stamp their efforts to ensure not just production but better quality in the final output” says Dr. Steve.

Proper storage facilities he said were crucial in boosting milk production and cautioned that the use of unstandardized storage methods by farmers could lead to health problems, hence farmers should abandon such means and look for suitable alternatives.

According to Dr. Naw a successful dairy hub consists of at least 500 dairy cows with a milk production capacity of over 5,000 litres of milk produced   daily and the lack of such centers contributed to the slow growth of dairy farming in the region and with the high productivity ratio setting up of cooler plants is crucial in such areas.

Dairy farming remains a key contributor to national economy. Despite Kisumu’s immense potential,it heavily relies on external dairy products. It is in the light of this that plans are underway to setup a modern cooler plant in Muhoroni Sub County in a joint effort to boost milk production in the western region.

By: Emily mikwa & Collins Owuor

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