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Samburu County launches pasture production project to improve farmers’ income

hay on EDL farm in narok 1024x768

Samburu County has set aside 5,000 acres for pasture production in a bid to improve farmers’ income by training them on hay farming then purchasing their produce for storage to be used during the dry season.

In 2017 for instance 1,500 livestock died in Baringo due to drought that led to insufficient pasture and water.

According to data from the Kenya Dairy Board, Samburu County has 184,666 heads of cattle, 387,698 sheep, 32,824 goats and 26,822 camels.

The county is a semi-arid land and majority farmers in the region are nomadic pastoralists who move their animals daily in search of pasture and water.

The move by the county government therefore will help farmers in the low land areas produce hay for their own livestock consumption while at the same time sell more for export.


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A Boma Rhodes farmer in Narok County. Courtesy

According to the County’s Executive Member in Charge of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, the county will support farmers in Lodokenjek ward with ploughs, certified seeds and agricultural training to make sure that they produce enough pasture.

In June, The Kenyan Government through the ministry of agriculture announced plans to export all the hay produced from the country to Djibouti after striking a deal with the Horn of Africa nation.

In this, the ministry is asking farmers to plant more grass especially Boma Rhodes variety for sale just like other cash crops.

Boma Rhodes is a grass variety used for hay making. It does well in areas with less than 900mm of rainfall per annum in altitudes of between 600 to 2000m above sea level. It performs well in loamy fertile soils.

An acre of land can produce 200 to 250 bales per season. In this, a farmer harvesting three times in a year can reap up to 600 to 750 bales per year.

A bale of hay retails at Sh200 meaning this type of farming can earn Sh120,000 to Sh150,000 per year, Sh60,000 more than an what maize farming earns with the same piece of land.

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