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Milk production drops in Nyandarua

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 22 – Dairy farmers in Nyandarua have realised a drop in milk production in the first quarter of this year compared to last year.

The farmers produced 17.9 million litres of milk worth Sh537 million.

Nyandarua North District Livestock Production Officer (DLPO) Geoffrey Mwangi attributed the drop to dry spells experienced in the region.

“This area has been experiencing low rains for a prolonged period and we haven’t been to grow enough fodder to feed our cattle,” he said.

He adds: “farmers lacked adequate capital to store forage and fodder for their dairy animals.”

The farmers also lack adequate milk coolers facilities to store their evening produce of milk forcing them to sell to middlemen at a cheaper price, the DPLO explained.

Costly farm inputs and lack of access to artificial insemination has also forced many farmers to revert to the use of local bulls for breeding, affecting the quality of the dairy herds.

Mr Mwangi however expressed optimism of increased income for farmers in the near future.

“Farmers will soon earn more as more sales avenues continue to be opened due to improved road networks and increased electricity connection in the rural areas.”

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In Nyandarua West district, formerly Ol-Joro-Orok division, farmers earned Sh249 million from the sale of 8.3 million litres, while those from Ol-Kalou (now Nyandarua Central district) had 5.9 million litres worth Sh177 million. Ndaragwa (Nyandarua North) saw farmers take home Sh114 million from the sale of 3.8 million litres.

Mr Mwangi told Capital News that there was concern over the delayed process of reviving 13 coolers installed by the government in different parts of the country.

“This delay has continued to adversely affect milk storage with farmers having to incur heavy transportation costs and hence massive losses.”

The New KCC received 3 million litres, Brookside Dairies and its sister company Spin Knit Dairies received 5.3 million litres and 3 million litres respectively, while middlemen received about 2 million litres. Yoghurt makers-Afrodane Dairies received 400,000 litres.

Milk prices continue to rise with local dairies in the trading centres asking for Sh40 per litre, while processors paid between Sh23 and Sh25 per litre.

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