Counties

Drought cuts dairy farmers' earnings by 21 pc

A worker of Mukurweini Wakulima dairy collects milk from farmers at Karundu trading centre in Nyeri on October 4, 2016. FILE PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG
A worker of Mukurweini Wakulima dairy collects milk from farmers at Karundu trading centre in Nyeri on October 4, 2016. FILE PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG 

Milk production in Nyeri has dropped by 24 per cent this year due to shortage of fodder caused by a prolonged dry spell in the County.

Dairy farmers in the devolved unit earned Sh2.9 billion this year compared to Sh3.5bn last year, a 21 per cent decline.

According to statistics from the Department of Agriculture, Nyeri produced approximately 97 million litres of milk compared to 125 million litres last year as a protracted drought bit into farmers' productivity.

A shortage of forage, poor quality hay and increased prices of animal feed is to blame for the trend.

“This resulted to animals not attaining their production potential,” said the report.

The milk was sold both informally and formally to dairy processors at between Sh28 and sh30.

Dairy farmers earned Sh44 million from selling milk formally and Sh30 million from milk traded informally.

Marketing of milk from small scale farmers is usually led by dairy cooperatives and self-help groups.

Farmers have been urged to invest heavily in the dairy enterprise in order to increase their returns.

“The major constraint for farmer is that animal feeds have become so expensive for the farmers to afford,” said agriculture executive Robert Thuo.