The government has invested Sh.140 million in procuring milk coolers as part of measures to improve smallholder dairy farming.
The Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mwangi Kiunjuri has at the same time said a task force has been appointed to look into challenges facing dairy farmers.
He said 14 milk coolers have been bought for small scale dairy farmers in Trans Nzoia County to help farmers preserve their milk. Kiunjuri who was speaking at Ngonyek when he commissioned a milk cooler for Koitogos Dynamic Dairy Co-operative society said that the task force will also look at the marketing challenges facing milk farmers and review the new policy that prohibits farmers from hawking milk.
He said the government’s objective is to help her people get better services and added that his ministry was working on ways of ensuring that a farmer gets value for his money through modern technology.
“We have built a bull station at Sh.900 million with the aim of getting better breeds and improved production and the price is just Sh200 for the semen,” he said. He said Sh.400million has been set aside to establish an embryo transplant kitty that will see farmers get the sex of the animals they wish to have.
Kiunjuri also issued Sh.5.2 million cheques to farmer groups from the smallholder dairy commercialization programme.
The beneficiary farmer groups will engage in fodder production and marketing of their produce. Out of 12 groups that benefited today from the smallholder dairy commercialization programme, at least nine ventured into fodder production and only two in marketing.
Earlier on, governor Patrick Khaemba asked the government to turn its attention to maize production.
Khaemba said that challenges facing maize farmers all the way from production to harvesting had been solved by both the devolved unit and the national government. He asked the National government to revive the small-scale farming equipment programme to reduce the cost of production.
“Farmers have been faced with high production challenges to post-harvest losses and we have not been able to solve their problems because of low funding,” he said. He added, “As government we should place a zero rate duty on hermetic bags to avoid the high levels of aflatoxin.”
According to Khaemba, though erratic climatic weather conditions destabilized farmers at the beginning of the year, the region is expecting a bumper harvest this year.
By Pauline Ikanda