How IFAD- funded Dairy project has positively impacted on small-holder farmers

The IFAD- funded Small-holder Dairy Commercialization Programme (SDCP) in Kenya is coming to conclusion after 13 years of implementation in 9 counties.

The program which has been in Kenya since 2005 with a total project cost of Ksh3.5 billion(Where IFAD financing was Ksh3,071,084,000 while beneficiaries’ additional financing amounted to Ksh153,300,000 whikle government of Kenya added Ksh280,416,000 million) is leaving a great impact in Kenya.

SDCP has directly supported 63,609 households in 59 Dairy Commercialization Areas of nine major milk-producing counties.With women accounting for 60 percent of the beneficiaries from the nine countie (Nakuru,Bomet,Nyamira,Kisii,Bungoma,Kakamega,Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu) the program’s main focus has been fostering market-driven development of Kenya’s dairy industry by working with poor smallholder dairy producers and traders to empower them.

According to the implementation team, the benefits of the program are already being felt in society with the tremendous increase in milk production.

Ms Leah Tharau, 32, from Nakuru County is a beneficiary of the program says she was in dire need of a job and even tried her luck in Salon sector but only worked there for six months with no much income to meet her needs.

Speaking on Tuesday during a National exit workshop for the program at the Naivasha’s Dairy Training Institute, Ms Leah says she decided to quit the salon job and venture into dairy farming.

“One day after a hard toil in the salon I only got but a commission of Ksh45 and this was my turning point to join dairy farming in 2008”she narrates.

It is here that Ms Leah got introduced to SDCP by Livestock officer and enrolled for training besides visiting other successful farmers before she bought better cow breeds and fully ventured into the dairy sector.

She says at the moment milk production on her farm has now increased to an average of 25 litres a day and sells to Bahati Agro processors at Ksh35 per litre.

“It is not just white colour jobs that the youths can go for. Farming is cheap and is well paying” says Leah who now sees dairy farming as an industry with much potential.

The script is not different for two brothers (John Matende and Elly Matende) who decided to venture into agribusiness.

They say this is the only way to address the unemployment issue in the country.Before, the duo was running family business in Nakuru town not until election violence rocked the town in 2007.

This prompted them to move to their home farm in Lugari Kakamega County to support their retired father who had gone into dairy.The two narrate that at first it was not easy for them not until they benefited from the SDCP training-knowledge that they are now using to improve the family interprise.

“The farm has now 12 dairy cows of fresian breeds with a prudction of over 100 litres of milk daily from five lactating cows which they sell to Naitiri Dairy Farmers Co-operative(Bungoma)and Lukimo Farmers Co-operative Society in Kakamega county”say the Matende brothers.

These are just among the many success stories from beneficiaries of the IFAD- funded Small-holder Dairy Commercialization Programme (SDCP) in Kenya.

And speaking when he joined the farmers in celebration of successes in 9 counties in the country Principal Secretary, State Department for Livestock and Fisheries Mr. Harry Kimtai, lauded the SDCP implementation team for making Kenya proud.

“I must congratulate Dr. Moses Kembe the programme coordinator and the PCU team who delivered this programme for 13 years and it’s successes are felt. Rarely do you find such a cooperation and resilience to deliver work , these team was full of zeal and professionalism and have really made us shine as a ministry,” said Mr. Kimtai.

In his speech, Mr. Kimtai noted that in supporting the dairy sector, the Ministry had distributed 350 coolers to farmers across the country and another batch of 640 was soon expected to arrive.

“We want to ensure that our farmers now get into value addition to purposely increase their income. I am glad I have seen a farmer I visited in Bungoma County a few years ago coming forward, and shown me the amount of money she now gets from sale of milk.” Said the P.S.

He called on the 9 counties that have had a chance to get the programme to continue implementing what they have been trained on.Programme Coordinator Dr. Moses Kembe, asked the Ministry to expand such programmes to reach more Kenyans. He also asked the counties to come up with affordable A.I services for its farmers.

“Registration of animals is very important as this increases their market value,” noted Dr. Kembe.

Receiving assets from the programme to be managed by the counties, The County Executive Committee Members from Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Bomet, Trans-Nzoia, Bungoma, Kakamega, Kisii, Nandi and Nyamira counties appreciated the programme and promised to carry on with the gains to ensure the farmers do not back slide in dairy.

PHOTO/Pristone Mambili:Farmers have time with Principal Secretary, State Department for Livestock and Fisheries Mr. Harry Kimtai when he joined the farmers in celebrating the successes of SDCP in 9 counties in the country held at Dairy Training Institute in Naivasha.

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