Brookside eyes solar water pumps to boost milk output


A section of the Brookside Dairy factory in Ruiru, Kiambu County. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Dairy processor Brookside has partnered with an off-grid solar technology firm to provide farmers with solar-powered irrigaition system as it seeks to boost milk production.

Mr John Gethi, Brookside’s director of milk procurement and manufacturing said the system will enable farmers grow fodder crops and provide reliable drinking water for their animals.

“We are currently running pilots on the project at our demonstration farms in Uasin Gishu, Nyandarua, Kajiado and Kiambu. An adult healthy dairy animal requires between 75 to 80 litres of water daily. Besides maintenance of body temperature, water is important in the digestion of feed and fodder,” Mr Gethi said in Trans Nzoia during visits to smallholder farms contracted to the processor.

The solar-powered water pumping system is amongst an array of green energy solutions Brookside has lined up for its farmers as the firm seeks to further consolidate its market lead in the sub-sector.

Brookside is piloting the technology in partnership with Sunculture Limited, a local non-governmental organisation.

Mr Gethi said that the use of solar technology will also provide energy that will power home appliances and lighting of up to four bulbs.

Data from Egerton University’s think-tank Tegemeo Institute indicate that over-reliance on rain-fed dairy production is one of the factors hindering the realisation of the full potential of the enterprise in the country, with milk production plummeting during the dry season on reduced water and fodder.

Mr Gethi said Brookside would continue to aggressively seek climate-smart technology solutions for its farmers to ensure that milk production in the country increases across all milk sheds.

Five years ago, the processor pioneered the use of solar power for heating and lighting at some of its raw milk cooling stations across the country.