Dairy processor Brookside Dairies yesterday launched hay production training to increase milk output in Trans Nzoia and Bungoma counties.
Brookside’s milk procurement director John Gethi said that farmers contracted under the Mt Elgon Livelihoods Project will be required to produce and store fodder, ensuring a steady flow of fodder for their dairy stock and sustained milk deliveries to their cooling plants round the year.
Brookside will also reserve a special milk price for the farmers, he said.
“Brookside is investing in sustainable agriculture practices for farmers, including animal feed preparation and storage as one way of addressing seasonal fluctuation in milk production,” Mr Gethi said.
He said the current dry spell had marginally shrunk raw milk volumes, which prompted Brookside to partner with France-based livelihoods fund and development organisation Vi Agroforestry to reduce dairy farmers’ reliance on rain-fed fodder production. Brookside said five co-operative societies; Tongaren, Kapsitwet, Kiminini, Ndalu and Kiungani will be used to drive the campaign across their respective catchment areas for the next decade.
“Increased demand for our dairy products means we have to invest more in production of raw milk by ensuring that dairy animals have access to adequate and nutritious animal feeds as well as water,” Mr Gethi said.
He added that while the prolonged dry weather had affected Brookside’s raw milk intake volumes, the processor was still able to sustain its market share across East Africa.
Meanwhile, milk prices continue to rise with the 500ml long life packet retailing at Sh55 up from Sh50 a fortnight ago. Mr Gethi explained that the shelf price was responding to the effect of demand and supply.