An Eldoret farmer has set up a special training facility to increase knowledge in dairy production.
Pyllis Keino's move to start Lewa Practical Dairy Training Centre LPDTC on her Baraka Farm was informed by minimum skills in the agribusiness among farmers, leading to to low productivity.
The training sessions at the centre are structured to 60 per cent practical and 40 per cent theory.
It covers covers eight modules which include Napier grass and fodder management, feeding, housing, calf rearing, milk technique and hygiene, fertility and breeding, health and disease and record keeping.
The centre is set on a two and half acre piece of land, which has a small-holder zero-grazing demonstration unit.
Trainees are allowed time in the farm’s main dairy establishment that has 80 Holstein Friesian cows and a young stock rearing unit.
The fee charged for one week training is KSh15,000 ($150). This caters for training, accommodation, meals, and other learning aid materials, including books, pens, coveralls, dust coats and gumboots. A certificate of completion is issued at the end of the course.
Between 2013, when the course was launched and December 2015, 350 people (farmers, trainers and students) have graduated from the training centre.
It is notable that 82 per cent of the graduates have been male and 18 female.
Head trainer and Baraka Farm manager Jos Creemers says most potential trainees prefer one-day training to the comprehensive five days. This is the main challenge the training centre is facing, he says.