By George Munene
According to a 2021 study on the cost of milk production in Kenya commissioned by Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) dairy farming remains one of the country’s more profitable agricultural ventures.
According to data collated by the study’s rapporteur The Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development (TIAPD), on average, major milk processors bought milk for Sh35 in 2019, while the cost of production ranged from Sh17-27. Gross revenue earned from milk production also improved by three per cent over the last five years.
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Intensive dairy production systems such as zero grazing had the highest gross revenue, Sh35.87, marginally better than semi-zero grazing, Sh37.27. Extensive farming, i.e, open field grazing, earned a total income of Sh31. However factoring in the costs of production intensive dairy enterprise had a lower whole profit, Sh10.3 a liter to Sh18.43 accrued from semi-zero grazing and Sh19.74 gotten from open field rearing.
Feeds and labour accounted for most of the cost of production at 85 per cent. Feeding zero grazed cattle accounted for 55 per cent of farmer’s cost, this was 45 per cent for open grazed cattle cattle and 37 per cent for those that were semi zero grazed.
Conversely, semi zero grazed cattle consumed the most in labour costs, 48 per cent, while zero grazed cattle consumed the least at just 33 per cent.
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The report also showed that a majority of farmers have embraced intensive systems of production. Intensive dairy farming was most practiced by farmers in Meru, Nyeri, Muranga, Taita Taveta, Embu, Kiambu, Nakuru and Machakos. Open field grazing was common in Narok and Uasin Gishu counties.