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Brief news on farming and agribusiness in the country

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Brookside trains 300 women on producing quality milk

Over 300 women from Embarnat Dairy Society in Kajiado County have benefited from training that aims to help them boost milk production.

The women were trained by Brookside Dairy Ltd on how to prepare and store adequate feeds for their cows.

The farmers were also taught on the need to invest in high-yielding animals such as the Sahiwal, which does well in semi-arid regions.

John Gethi, Brookside director of milk procurement and manufacturing, said with the weather in the county being erratic, characterised by long dry spells, thus impacting on forage production, farmers need new skills.

“We are addressing the challenge of seasonality of production by equipping farmers with skills on fodder conservation,” Gethi said.

He noted that for a long time, dairy farming in Kajiado has been practised mainly for subsistence.

“Through our partnership with farmers, we intend to fully transform milk production in the area into a full-fledged commercial enterprise capable of providing regular income for farmers, a majority of whom are smallholders,” Gethi said during the training at Ilbissil township this week.

The farmers were also trained on investment in climate-resilient practices, such as harvesting of water during the rainy season and storing for use in times of drought.

Juliet Naisian, a member of the society, said they have acquired better skills in animal husbandry, which they will use to boost milk production.

“We also have regular market for our milk, together with guaranteed payments. This has attracted many women to the dairy enterprise,” said Naisian.

Every end of the month, the women queue at branches of local banks in Kajiado town to receive their money, what could not have been imagined before.

Last year, Brookside rewarded top performing dairy groups in the county with cash bonuses as a way of encouraging commercialisation of the dairy enterprise.

The processor has set up raw milk collection points at Kajiado town, Isinya, Bull’s Eye, Ilbissil, Ngatataek and Olbelbel.

“Dairy farming has ushered a new dawn to farmers here. It has enriched our lives economically because we are assured of income from milk,” Judith Ntangenoi, the secretary of Esupuko Women Dairy Group, said.

Egerton University in plan to build agro-industrial park

Egerton University has set aside 200 acres at Ngongongeri in Njoro, Nakuru County, to establish an agro-industrial park.

The project will see investors set up industrial hubs as well as provide opportunities for Egerton University students to do research.

Speaking during a meeting on the event, governor Lee Kinyanjui said the county will not spare any resources in ensuring the project becomes a reality.

“The industrial park is a great opportunity for young men and women to horn their skills and create jobs,” he said.
World Bank project director Sarah Ochieng said many countries had succeeded through creation of economic zones and industrial parks.

Egerton University chancellor Narendra Raval asked the government to invest more on agriculture. He further urged banks to support agricultural projects, including the proposed Egerton Industrial Park. Once completed, the university will be the first to have such a project.

Farmers warned of fake fertiliser

A fertiliser manufacturer has warned farmers in Mwea, Kirinyaga County, to be wary of fake inputs.

Yara East Africa country manager William Ng’eno said the products had led to declined yields.

“Farmers should buy fertilisers from well-established and licensed outlets if they want their crops to do well,” said the official in Thiba town during a field day.

Ng’eno further asked farmers to use fertilisers in an efficient manner that will minimise losses and maximise yields.

Farmers noted they have been getting low yields in some seasons due to lack of quality farm inputs and poor farming techniques.

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