Tuesday 24 April 2012
Milk production in North Rift drops as cash-strapped farmers cannot adopt better farming technology.
Dairy farmers in the North Rift say they are unable get loans to enable them to adopt better farming technology.
Consequently, they are counting their losses as milk production declines.
“The government and financial institutions need to repackage their loan products to make them accessible to dairy farmers for the sector to be a profit-making venture,” said Daniel Mitei, a farmer from Trans Nzoia County.
Cash-strapped farmers are now finding it difficult to feed their animals since the price of one bag of fodder has increased from Sh1,600 to Sh1,850.
The government has further been challenged to allocate sufficient funds to Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) to give farmers low-interest loans.
“The government need to improve funding to the dairy sector through AFC to enable farmers increase their milk production and earn better profit,” appealed Mary Jeptoo from Sergoit in Uasin Gishu County.
Dairy farmers in the region also want the government to subsidise the cost of artificial insemination (AI) to improve the quality of animal breeds.
They said high cost of AI services offered by private breeders was compromising the quality of the local dairy breed as they could not afford the charges.
“The exorbitant cost of AI services has forced most farmers to resort to use of bulls to breed their animals which compromises on quality,” said James Tuwei from Nandi County.
The North Rift region has an estimated 1.2 million dairy cows.
According to a report by ministry of Livestock Development, the country produced 4.2 billion litres of milk last year against a potential of 12 billion litres.
Meanwhile, an industrial lobby group wants the government to establish a national entrepreneurship and innovation policy to help small and medium-size Enterprises (SMEs) to streamline their operations.
The policy, according to the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), will offer regulatory measures and protection of property rights and patents, thereby making it possible for investors in the SMEs sector to improve their earnings.
“Lack of proper regulatory policy makes the sector continue to register low innovation in technological products and process innovations as compared to their counterparts in developed world despite paying important role in the growth of the country’s economy,” said Charles Mose, KNCCI chairman, Uasin Gishu County.
He cited insufficient market information and skills as other factors that makes SMEs to have low contribution to the country’s economic growth.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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