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HEALTHIER COWS

Women, youth learn to make fodder, market dairy

Cooperatives are helping people become independent dairy farmers and make a profit

In Summary

• Women and youth groups learn to grow and mix nutritious fodder for use during drought.

• They also learn to prepare the soil to grow the best grasses.

Farmer Magdalene Buigut from Anabkoi trains women on mixing fodder with right mineral content.
BETTER DAIRY: Farmer Magdalene Buigut from Anabkoi trains women on mixing fodder with right mineral content.
Image: JESSICAH NYABOKE
Women dairy farmers learn how to mix fodder. Coordinator Robela Cheptanui says members become self-sufficient in dairy feeds after learning how to grow and prepare them.
MIXING FODDER: Women dairy farmers learn how to mix fodder. Coordinator Robela Cheptanui says members become self-sufficient in dairy feeds after learning how to grow and prepare them.
Image: JESSICA NYABOEKE

Women and youth in Uasin Gishu and Nandi counties have been trained in improving dairy production by adding value and preparing their own fodder.

Rosebela Cheptanui, the coordinator of Lelechegio Women's Group, said during drought livestock die for lack of pasture and water.

Women are learning, however, how to grow, prepare and store fodder .

The group was trained by Heifer International, a NGO that invests in farmers and business owners to help increase their income.

Cheptanui, from Mosoriot in Nandi county, had a pilot project on five acres where she grew different types of fodder - it turned into a life-changing venture.

She planted different types of grass and plants with different nutrients and minerals, including Guatemala grass and sweet potatoes leaves that induce high milk production.

She sells surplus to the Agriculture ministry for seed that the ministry distributes to farmers.

Farmers in turn supply established milk chilling plants or coolers, where they also can access fodder - the costs deducted from their produce.

"When farmers, particularly women, deliver milk to the cooling plants they earn a half of their payments while the other half covers the cost of fodder," Cheptanui said.

She said the dairy sector was crippled by many problems during the Covid-19 pandemic because it has to adhere to Health ministry protocols.

To increase production, they adopted environmentally friendly dairy husbandry and practices.

“We are targeting 30,000 farmers in the region so we reach our milk production target by 2023,” Cheptanui said

The programme promotes use of farmyard manure and compost for soil fertility. It also uses biogas technology a the household level.

Land productivity is improved with increasing use of manure and bio-slurry waste from biogas systems.

The Lelchego Dairy Cooperative Society is one of the many projects Heifer International is supporting through training on value chain marketing. It focuses on smallholder commercialisation projects.

Community facilitator Rosbela Jeptanui in Mosoriot has benefited.

Farmer Magdalene Buigut from Ainabkoi produces 130 litres to 150 litres daily from her 30 cows. She sells to the Dairy farmers’ Cooperative Society.

Buigut’s 30-acre Buma Farm is considered a model demonstration farm that receives many visitors.

(Edited by V. Graham)