The Irish government has committed Sh112 million towards farmer education in the Kenyan dairy sector to raise productivity and help improve the country’s food security.
In an interview with the Business Daily, Ireland minister for business enterprise and innovation Heather Humphreys said the adoption of new husbandry methods and technology will go a long way in improving the country’s dairy and beef sectors.
“We have signed an investment worth Sh112.3 million with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) to educate dairy farmers in Kenya in forage, breeding and food processing,” Ms Humphreys said.
“Ireland has achieved food security through similar solutions and we hope to reciprocate that in Kenya. Our country’s food production can sustain more than 35 million people despite our population of under five million,” Mrs Humphrey said.
Ireland exports about Sh450 billion worth of dairy products every year to more than 100 countries, representing over 90 percent of its total production.
Mrs Humphrey stated that Kenya needs to abandon the old system of agricultural production and instead leverage on technology to enable it grow its food capacity.
Kenyan farmers are affected by a lack of an established export system for their milk, leaving them at the mercy of local processors who often cut prices whenever there is a glut in the market.
The Irish government is also supporting potato farming in Nyandarua in a programme that kicked off in 2018 that is providing farmers with high yielding seed variety.
The programme seeks to address the entire chain from soil testing, soil management, quality seeds, best husbandry, to marketing.
The main objective of the programme is to increase food production for food security and improved income for small-scale farmers. The programme will also be expanded to other potato growing counties if the three-year programme in Nyandarua ids deemed successful.