Safaricom, Huawei eye dairy farmers with new device


New tech plan seeks to boost dairy production. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Safaricom has partnered with Chinese tech giant Huawei to develop sensors that will notify dairy farmers when it is ideal to inseminate their cows in a bid to increase milk production.

Through the device, which will be lodged in the cows’ bodies, farmers will be able to track their animals’ menstrual cycles through a digital database and schedule targeted insemination.

Huawei has developed the devices while Safaricom will set up the business model for their delivery to Kenyan farmers and provide the network through which the devices will send data to them.

“We are also working with the Agriculture ministry. We have done a lot of trials in Nakuru and Eldoret for the dairy cows,” said Huawei Kenya chief executive Stone He, during Huawei-Reddington ICT Summit at Movenpick Hotel on Wednesday.

“Kenya has more than four million dairy cows but the milk production is not so high.”

He said the device is instrumental in monitoring dairy cows, especially when their number is high.

“That (device) will help the farmer because if you have 100 cows, it is very challenging to know which cow should be inseminated,” Mr He said.

According to data from the Livestock Research for Rural Development journal, Kenya’s dairy sector contributes about 8 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with an annual milk production of 3.43 billion litres. Kenyan milk production is 3 percent of the 18 percent global production stemming from sub-Saharan Africa. Dairy cattle population is estimated at 4.3 million.

Mr He said wrong timing costs farmers their income because they have to wait about 21 days before the cow is fertile again, delaying milk production.