Farmers in Kakamega County have been urged to focus attention on dairy and local poultry farming while incorporating modern technology of animal husbandry in order to boost their economic output. Speaking when he toured the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) funded projects under the Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme (SDCP) in Lugari Sub County, the PS Livestock Harry Kimutai appealed to farmers to shift their attention on agribusiness, especially on dairy cattle and goats rearing as an alternative way of fighting poverty in the region.
He said his department was committed to improving the quality of livestock in an effort to boost milk production urging livestock extension officers to embark on sensitizing farmers to embrace artificial insemination to upgrade the quality of their dairy animals.
Local breed though important, he added would not assist farmers to realize improved milk production observing that it was a high time those who have local breed to embrace modern farming methods and start upgrading them.
He assured Western and Rift Valley farmers the completion and equipping of the bull station at the Agricultural Development Cooperation (ADC) in Kitale.
He said the government had allocated a total of Kshs 100 million towards the
completion of the station which is expected to be operational by August this year.
“Currently we only have Kabete AI station which is far from this area but with the completion of the Kitale station you will be able to get AI services at a much lower price,” said Kimutai adding that plans were underway to ensure that apart from offering the normal AI services the station also produced sex semen which is currently being imported.
The PS thanked the County government of Kakamega for helping farmers by subsidizing the AI services disclosing that Kakamega was among the leading Counties in using AI services countrywide.
On milk market, the PS assured dairy farmers of available market revealing that the Kenya Dairy Board was in the process of licensing more processors to create enough market and also offer a good price to farmers.
“Kakamega County is planning to put up a milk processing plant at Malava and soon the Kenya Dairy Board will be licensing another processor at Eldoret which is close to this place so you shouldn’t be worried about the market,” said Kimutai.
However, the PS urged farmers to guard against middle-men calling on them to ensure that their produce was channelled through cooperative societies.
He advised government officers to help the farmers fight unscrupulous middlemen by guiding them to enter into agreements directly with processors.
On animal feeds, the PS said the government had exempted tax on
importation of raw materials for processing animal feeds thus lowering
the cost of milk production for the benefit of farmers.
Apart from dairy farming, PS Kimutai said his department was promoting indigenous poultry farming. “I want to tell you in a recent meeting held in Arusha, Tanzania, Kenya
was identified as a centre of excellence for dairy and local poultry farming in East and Central Africa so we must put in more effort to ensure the programmes succeed,” said PS Kimutai.