Rains boost earnings for farmers
Published Wed, May 2nd 2018 at 00:00, Updated May 1st 2018 at 22:28 GMT +3
Dairy farmers in Embu County are reaping big from the long rains.
Milk production has gone up as a result of increased forage and pasture, which has in turn seen increased earnings for their milk deliveries to processors.
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The farmers last year collectively earned Sh350 million from raw milk sales delivered to Brookside Diary, an 11 per cent increase from a year earlier. The earnings are projected to rise this year.
Brookside Procurement Director John Gethi yesterday said supplies by local farmers had grown by nearly 30 per cent over the past two weeks.
Gethi urged the farmers to take advantage of this year’s abundant rains to increase acreage under fodder in their farms.
“Planting of animal feed in this period of abundance, and subsequently preserving it, will ensure that milk production remains optimum throughout the year,” said Mr Gethi during a tour of the processor’s milk collection facilities in the region.
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The company last month increased farm-gate prices by Sh11 per kilogram to Sh37.
Data by industry regulator Kenya Dairy Board indicates that milk production in the first quarter of this year grew by an average 25 per cent countrywide on account of the current weather.
Last year, the volume of processed milk dropped by 17 per cent to 535 million litres following a prolonged drought that suppressed milk production in the country.
Milk production in Kenya is largely weather-dependent, with seasonal fluctuations witnessed during the year. Supply increases during the rains while production often plummets in dry seasons.
Mr Gethi said the processor would set up dairy demonstration farms in the region, where farmers would benefit from peer training on best practices in the dairy enterprise.
“The demo farms complement our dairy training courses. It is not enough to ask farmers to grow milk production without demonstrating to them how to go about it,” he said.