Pastoralists in Samburu County were Monday advised to turn to dairy farming and form cooperatives to enjoy good financial returns.
Agriculture and crop production Principal Secretary (PS) Richard Lesiyampe asked the pastoralists to minimise their large herds and instead improve on their cow breeds as they embrace modern ways of dairy farming.
Lesiyampe encouraged residents to purchase dairy cows or improve their cow breeds for increased milk production.
He said that the government will purchase ten breeding bulls that will be placed in every ward in Samburu west to help improve the local breed for better milk production.
The PS was speaking in Maralal town, when the 166 member Samburu dairy cooperative society received a 3,000 litre milk cooler from the national government.
The bulls will be of high quality and in three to four years, I am sure the quality of our animals will be improved, he said.
His sentiments were echoed by the SACCO patron Julius Lalampaa saying in the recent past pasture had become a challenge to pastoralists forcing them to hire herders to drive their animals in to neighbouring counties in search of it and water.
Lalampaa noted that many people did not see their cows for the better part of the year since they were away in search of pasture.
Instead of incurring extra costs of paying herders and seeing your animals once a year, it is better you sell your indigenous breeds and buy a few good quality dairy cows whose product has a ready market.
They can also be closely monitored as they are kept in one’s home compound, he advised.
Lalampaa noted that dairy farming requires a small space while the rest can be used to plant fodder and other farming methods.
He encouraged residents to join the SACCO since the current members were not meeting the high demand for milk in even in Maralal town alone.
Dairy farming is profitable and requires less space to rear, indigenous livestock farming is tiresome, some farmers see their livestock once a year, he said.
Director of livestock production Julius Kiptarus noted that milk from the region had high fat content and challenged the SACCO members to venture into value addition of the milk once the cooler is installed.
Your cows produce high fat milk which can enable you to start making yoghurt and cheese to expand your market base, he said.
While handing over the cooler, Kiptarus said the Samburu youth will be taken for training on artificial insemination at the Dairy training institute in Naivasha.
After the training, the government will provide two AI kits to Samburu for livestock breeding, he said.
Source: Kenya News Agency