Diversify, form saccos to prosper, pastoralists told

Former Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe. /FILE
Former Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe. /FILE

Pastoralists in Samburu county have been urged to turn to dairy farming and form cooperatives to enjoy good financial returns.

The pastoralists have been advised to

minimise

their large herds and improve the cow breed and adopt modern ways of dairy farming.

A 166-member dairy cooperative received a

3,000-litre

milk cooler from the national government in March last year.

The then Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe encouraged residents to buy dairy cows or improve their cow breeds for increased milk production.

He said the government will buy 10 breeding bulls that will be placed in every ward in Samburu West to help improve the local breed for better milk production.

“The bulls will be of high quality and in three to four years, I am sure the quality of our animals will be improved,” he said.

Samburu dairy cooperative patron Julius Lalampaa said pasture has become scarce, forcing pastoralists to hire herders to drive their animals into neighboring counties in search of water and pasture.

Lalampaa said many people don’t see their cows for the better part of the year since they are away in search of pasture.

“Instead of incurring extra costs of paying herders and seeing your animals once a year,

it’s

better you sell your indigenous breeds and buy a few good quality dairy cows, whose product has a ready market. They can also be closely monitored as they are kept in one's home compound,” he said.

He said dairy farming requires a small space, while the rest can be used to plant fodder and other farming methods.

SACCO PUSH

Lalampaa encouraged residents to join the cooperative since the current members are not meeting

the high

demand for milk in Maralal town.

"Dairy farming is profitable and requires less space to rear. Indigenous livestock farming is tiresome; some farmers see their livestock once a year," he said.

Livestock experts say milk produced by livestock in arid areas has

high fat

content. They urge dairy farmers to start value addition of their milk once the cooler is installed.

“Your cows produce

high-fat

milk, which can enable you to start making

yoghurt

and cheese to expand your market base,” said a livestock

officer.

Samburu youth have also been called on to train on artificial insemination at the dairy training institute in Naivasha to cater for

high

demand of bettering the area’s livestock breeds.

Last year, the government promised to provide two AI kits to Samburu for livestock breeding.