According to the University of Kentucky, Kenya milk production is among the top in Africa. 80 percent of the total milk production wells up from small scale farmers, and it is consumed locally. The country has approximately 600,000 smallholder dairies.
However, there are a bunch of large-scale dairy companies, but the biggest of them all is the Brookside Dairies. The firm processes close to 1 million liters of milk daily.
Milk production in Kenya grows by about 4.5% every year, as stated by the European Union for Development Policy Management. Also, the demand balloons by 2% to 3%, thanks to the ever-growing population. Below are four success contributors to milk production in Kenya.
Favorable climate for milk production
The geographical location and terrain in Kenya are somewhat beneficial to the rearing of cows compared to many Sub-Saharan countries. Generally, you can keep daily cows anywhere countrywide, but two specific regions offer the ideal environment. Bearing in mind that dairy cows do well in milder temperatures, the Rift valley region and Central region offer the best climate. Consequently, the surrounding helps the cows to feed well and as a result, produce more milk.
Availability of milk production feeds and pasture
Most of the Kenyan farmers have less than five dairy cows. This makes it easy to scour for grass even during the dry season. It again helps farmers provide enough spacing to the cows while constructing the sheds. And being that Kenya has vast tracks of unutilized land, sourcing grass is as easy as falling off a snap.
Still, in areas that grow maize and wheat commercially, farmers store the remains in silos and feed it to cows bit by bit. There are also tons of animal feeds companies all over the country that produce relatively cheap products. Alternatively, some cow keepers manufacture home-made feeds that are often of quality than what some companies produce.
Regional support mechanism
The small number of dairy cows per household makes it a breeze to handle and house the animals. Ideally, sick cows produce less milk, and their chances of dying are often high. With most cattle keepers practicing zero grazings, diseases are manageable unlike in ranches.
In the same breath, a ton of farmers have cooperative societies. This helps them to mobilize their milk production and sell it jointly. As a result, they can break through the fiercely competitive markets as well as avoid the manipulation of prices by go-betweens brokers.
Availability of quality crossbreeds
Kenya has about 4.3 million dairy cattle producing approximately 3.43 million liters of milk daily. This is a massive production considering not all cows produce milk all year round. However, there are times when the milk production surpasses the average, especially during wet seasons.
Also, the availability of loads of veterinary experts is another aspect that boosts milk production. As it is, the animals getting top-quality artificial insemination services of crossbreeds give birth to better milk-producing calves.
In conclusion, there are a bunch of issues the Kenyan government needs to address going forward. For example, in the recent past, farmers were seen demonstrating over lack of market and low pricing. Also, there has been extreme competition from milk products entering Kenya from neighboring countries of Uganda and Tanzania. These are issues that dwindle the spirit of most livestock farmers to keep cows.
However, the Kenyan president plans to leave a lasting legacy in the agricultural sector, among other areas. He aims at ensuring the daily industry is sustainable and lower-income farmers enjoy their hard work of keeping cattle. One of the recommendations for achieving this is the building of several creamery companies all over the country. But, corruption and underperforming cabinet employees continue to give citizen sleepless nights.