IFAD impressed by implementation of its activities in Lugari

Some of the dairy cows reared on Matende Holstein farm
Some of the dairy cows reared on Matende Holstein farm

As the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) winds up its projects in the country, the acting country programme officer Mr. James Mbwika has expressed
satisfaction over the implementation of its activities in Lugari Sub County.

Speaking after touring various development projects funded by the organization in Lugari Sub County, Mbwika said the funds had been prudently utilized. “The funding has largely benefited the disadvantaged as envisaged,” said Mbwika adding that poverty has been reduced within households.

Mr. Mbwika called on the successful groups such as the Tumaini support group in Chekalini location which is involved in dairy goats farming under the leadership of Mr. John Omumang’ale to ensure that they shared acquired knowledge and create a community spiral effect.

Mr. John Omumang’ale, an established dairy goat farmer at Itumbu village in Chekalini location has all reasons to thank the government and IFAD for enlightening him on how to utilize his small piece of land.

He confessed that before the coming of Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme (SDCP) under the sponsorship of IFAD in July 2006, he was living helplessly and hopelessly on his ¼ acre piece of land but currently his life had greatly changed after
embracing dairy goat farming.

Besides the basic group training in dairy farming, the SDCP programme also sponsored Omumang’ale for other training ventures in animal food nutrition among others and educational tours which equipped him with important skills and methods in dairy goat production and he aggressively put the same in practice, which has made him a much
sought after dairy goat expert nowadays.

His small-scale farm, now a beehive of activities, has attracted a number of farmers to dairy goat farming business. Omumang’ale has subdivided his piece of land into smaller units where
he has planted about 25 varieties of goat pasture. Thanking IFAD facilitation through the SDCP programme, Omumamng’ale said proceeds from the goats’ milk have enabled him perform duties, which he previously failed.

“With seven goats that produce 5 litres of milk each in a day my life has greatly been transformed,” said Omumang’ale adding that one litre of goat milk sells at between Kshs 120-200, retail price.

Besides Mr. Omumangale and Tumaini support group’s success story on dairy goat the IFAD team was also impressed by Matende Holstein farm in Lugari location which deals with dairy cattle farming.

“I would say we are very much impressed, we have seen that this is a smallholder dairy commercialization programme which means that we want to commercialize smallholder dairy production and what we have seen here is that this farm is moving that direction in terms of ensuring that the work they are doing is really commercially oriented. You heard the farmers saying that they have implemented technologies that are cutting the production costs per every litre of milk which is a key objective of this programme,” said Mbwika.

The officials were also impressed by Mzee Jeremiah Matende’s move to hand over the management of the farm to his young sons John and Elly Matende. “The other thing we have noted is that IFAD is very passionate about youths and women to support them in the rural areas so that they can uplift their standards. What we have witnessed in this farm is that the old generation has handed over the management of the farm to the young people and I was impressed when they said that they actually moved from Nakuru where they were doing white color jobs to come and work on the farm in 2010. Though then their father could only only afford to produce 2 liters of milk it’s encouraging that the two young men have really improve and currently the farm is producing between 150 – 200 liters of milk per day,” added Mbwika.

His sentiments were echoed by Mr. Bernad Kimoro who lauded farmers from the area for making good progress in terms of improving milk production which has made them earn more income. “The programme has worked well with youths and it is really coming out
that more youths are getting involved in dairy farming and also supporting other youths who want to join this enterprise, so generally our feeling is that it has been a successful mission and we see progress from the programme,” said Kimoro.

According to Lugari Sub County livestock production officer Mr.Wellington Mang’oli, the area has received over Kshs. 85 million from IFAD for the last 11 years. The funds he said were used to promote dairy animal husbandry, group dynamics and dairy goat promotion through the small dairy commercialization programme.