Dairy farmers in Busia County are set to benefit from increasing market demand for milk in the county that currently stands at 600,000 litres a year against the county’s annual production of 540,000 litres.
The county needs 50,000 litres of milk a day but only produces 30,000 litres forcing the county to import the produce from Uganda and neighbouring counties to bridge the deficit.
To increase production, the Busia government has partnered with the USAID to develop Dairy Development Strategy (DDS) that will guide the dairy industry in the county and support the producers.
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Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong has urged dairy farmers to utilize their available land to boost milk production.
Speaking after a tour of Ayuka and Borderless Dairies in Teso South and Butula Sub County respectively with the USAID Washington delegation on Tuesday, the Governor urged famers to embrace milk production to bridge the milk shortage in the county.
“The issue of poverty in Busia should not exist if residents capitalize on available land to keep dairy animals instead of the current trend where milk is imported from neighbouring Uganda and parts of Rift Valley,” he said.
The Governor urged farmers to emulate Sir Ayuka who despite having a paltry two plots has nearly 50 dairy animals that produces over 200 litres of milk per day and yet some farmers have over three acres of land which remain unutilized.
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He said his government is constructing two modern dairy parks in Teso South and Butula sub counties that are aimed at increasing milk production to bridge the 60,000L shortfall.
Thomas Carr, USAID/Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems Project said their main focus in 2020 is on value added and pasteurization including yoghurt and other dairy products.
Mr Carr said they are working with Bidco and Unga feeds to improve dairy feed standards, noting their main target with a team of 150 players is on feeds, fodder, artificial insemination for breed improvement and marketing itself.
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The Chief of Party said USAID will inject Sh28million for purchase of 22,000 dairy animals to benefit farmers in Eastern and Western Kenya; we are also encouraging county governments to embrace AI aimed at empowering AI providers and to encourage cross breeding farming.
Mr Dan Odero who is in charge of veterinary services at Border-less Dairies said they have 110 dairy animals with milk production of 350L per day.
Like Sir Ayuka daires, Odero said they face challenges of fodder which they procure from Kitale, thus increasing production costs. The farm has employed 24 staff including two women, 11 youths and 11 middle aged men.
Last year January the county partnered with International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) to improve breeding and increase production for local consumption and even for export.
Busia also last year distributed milk cooler machines to three dairy co-operatives namely Adungosi, Nambale and Busibwabo. This was to ensure that milk supplied to the co-ops by farmers is preserved to avoid wastages due to spoilage.