Dairy farmers in the Rift Valley of Kenya have had to find alternative animal feed sources due to droughts and high cost of commercial animal feeds and have come up with homemade feeds.
Hellen Yego, a dairy farmer in Moiben, Uasin Gishu County, began producing her own feed after she realised the low milk production was a result of the poor quality commercial feeds she had been using. She planted sunflowers to get the nutritious seeds that boost milk productivity.
“I extract cooking oil from the sunflower, which I use for both commercial and subsistence purposes. It is from the remains of the sunflower seed that I obtain the cake,” Mrs Yego said.
The Dairy Producers Association has raised concerns over the shortage of main nutritious components, saying it was taking a toll on farmers.
Mr Peter Lelei, the association’s vice chairperson, says the biting shortage can only be contained if the country would import the nutritious components from the neighbouring countries.
“We are urging the respective ministries to make arrangements of importing these vital supplements from Uganda and Tanzania in order to boost productivity in the dairy industry,” says Mr Lelei.
“We have dairy farmers who do not have enough resources at their disposal to import these supplements as individuals that is why it is necessary for the government to import to benefit all farmers” says Mr Lelei, who is also a dairy farmer in Uasin Gishu.
The shortage of the two key ingredients has resulted from decreased production of sunflower and cotton as most farmers who were cultivating the crops stopped for lack of ready market.
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