Farmers in Trans Nzoia County have been encouraged to diversify farming activities for reliable income.
According to Dr. Maurice Cherogony, an officer from Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) Trans Nzoia region, dairy animals can fetch more income compared to maize farming which takes a long time to mature with little return.
Dr. Cherogony says that although milk prices keep on changing, the dairy animals are expensive and can generate good income when sold.
“A good breed costs between Ksh 150,000 and Ksh200,000 which is more profitable compared to maize farming,” he said.
Dr. Cherogony says one has to ensure the cow gets clean water and enough food to build the body that promotes milk production.
He said poor feeding may lead to diseases and declined milk production.
Dairy cows consume 15-20kg of food per day.
A lactating dairy cow can consume between 18-25kg of hay or mixture of forages.
He says farmers get poor milk production due to decisions made when inseminating their animals.
Dr. Cherogony says farmers need to get good and quality semen from the ADC bull station through their appointed agents at the Sub County level.
Farmers can access them without struggle.
He says the semen is well researched and resistant to diseases. Some is imported from South Africa.
In connection to this, the ADC semen bull station Manager Mr. Musheni Kariuki says there is need to expand land meant for bull stations.
He says bulls need more feeding to produce semen that is on increasing demand by farmers.
Speaking to The Scholar Media Africa Mr. Kariuki discouraged farmers from keeping low breed animals which have no profit.
Trans Nzoia County is well known as the food basket of Kenya.
Many farmers are still relying on mono cropping that does not bring expected profits due to expensive farming inputs.
Ploughing, fertilizer application during planting and top dressing, weeding, harvesting among other activities increase the costs of farming.
The County government through its County Executive Committee Member in charge of Agriculture Mary Nzomo has been encouraging farmers to diversify activities for income generation.
Mrs Nzomo says dairy animals can fetch more income per year compared to maize farming.
Mrs Nzomo says the county government has assisted to register 126 Co-operative Societies with membership of 38,415.
This has enabled farmers to manage themselves through milk collection centers before they sell.
Charles Opondo who is a dairy farmer at Kapsitwet with only two dairy animals says the venture has enabled him to educate his children from private primary schools to secondary schools.
His family depends on these two dairy animals.
He encouraged farmers to try dairy farming which is self-employment and profitable.
He says there is high demand for milk.
A farmer can decide to sell milk either to KCC or Brookside companies or get tenders to hotels.
A large scale farmer Fredrick Rono says maize farming is becoming unprofitable in the country and farmers should start focusing on agribusiness for quick money.
He says the government has increased prices of farm input and does not care if farmers get good returns.