The International Fund for Agricultural Development in collaboration with the national government through the Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme (SDCP) has given out grants totaling to over Ksh 95 million to individuals and various groups to support dairy farming in Lugari and Likuyani sub counties.
Speaking during an exit workshop held at Lumakanda, that brought together members and officials from the benefiting groups, the SDCP national coordinate Moses Kembe was impressed with how the grant was well utilized to benefit farmers in the two sub counties.
He said it was encouraging how the programme had transformed some of the farmers from subsistence level to commercialize.
He said the programme SDCP has been operating in nine Counties which include Kakamega, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Bomet, Nakuru, Nandi, Nyamira and Kisii and they were satisfied by the achievement in Lugari.
The national coordinator was also impressed with the dairy goats project in Lugari which has greatly improved the lives of residents. “You’ve seen what the dairy goats project has done in Lugari,” said Kembe.
His sentiments were echoed by Mr. Daniel Keter an IFAD desk officer based in Nairobi who said that main objective of programme was to improve the income of the rural poor households that depend substantially on production of dairy and dairy related products
He observed the programme had boosted sources of livelihoods and changed living standards of its beneficiaries across the nine Counties.
“It is worth pointing out before inception of the project farmers were producing very low volumes of milk at an average of three to four litres per cow in a single day, but now we are happy to note it has shot up to an average of between 12 and 15 litres and also the household earning has shot up from the initial Ksh. 130 per day and now they are posting Ksh. 700 per day,” disclosed Keter.
Keter further hailed the project, saying it had in effect reduced poverty indexes in some of the Counties, “The poverty index in Counties has significantly dropped because of the SDCP programme,” he added.
As SDCP closes its activities in the area Mr. Keter urged residents to ensure continuity of their projects to enable them fight poverty.
He appealed to both the national and County governments and other partners to take over from where IFAD has left and take the projects to a higher level. “Since its inception in 2006 IFAD through Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme has pumped billions of shillings into the nine counties to fund dairy projects,” he said arguing that the projects should not collapse following the exit of the lending agency.
He said it was crucial for them to ensure the continuity of all initiated programs in order to reduce poverty prevalence as it was according to the project objectives.
Mr. Keter encouraged beneficiaries to work in liaison with line ministries and other collaborators and also work smart by embracing modern technology within their diverse income generating
activities in order to boost productivity as well as sustaining SDCP projects and efforts in the country.
The function was also attended by Lugari Deputy County Commissioner william Lenaremo and Kakamega County SDCP coordinator Wellington Mang’oli.