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Monday, 30 March 2015

Increasing hay production in Laikipia County

By Bob Aston
The inadequate and low quality livestock feeds, increased environmental degradation and limited alternative sources of income for smallholder livestock farmers in Laikipia West and East Sub Counties have been a cause for concern for many stakeholders in the Dairy Value Chain in Laikipia County.
In a bid to address these challenges, the Laikipia Dairy Development Group (LDDG) has partnered with the Agricultural Sector Development Support Program (ASDSP), Laikipia County Government, Laikipia County department of livestock production and veterinary department, to implement a concept note titled “Pasture production and commercialization in the Dairy Value Chain.”
The concept note seeks to ensure that there is a viable and equitable commercialization of dairy value chain particularly in Laikipia East and West Sub Counties. This will be by ensuring that there is an increase of the amount and quality of pasture produced in Laikipia East Sub County by 50 percent and increase in pasture conservation and storage by 30 percent.
Dairy cows feeding
Activities that are currently being undertaken include; formation and registration of 25 Value Chain Groups (VCGs), mobilization of VCGs to form an umbrella group for purposes of coordinating pasture markets and formalizing the umbrella group.
Others that will be undertaken include; identifying and recruiting trainers, training 25 VCGs on pasture production conservation and storage, conducting an educational tour for farmers, constructing four (4) pasture barns, sourcing for four (4) new pasture markets and linking 25 VCG’s to pasture markets.
Already a participatory approach has been used to identify the 25 VCGs. The VCG members will also be trained on group dynamics, pasture management and conservation and range rehabilitation. It is expected that by the end of this year 2,500 acres of land will be under pasture production while 750 farmers will benefit directly from the project.
The pasture produced will be used for feeding livestock in the Sub-County and also for sale within and outside Laikipia County. This will improve income of the groups and thus their economic status. The economically empowered groups will be able to contribute towards project sustainability. Successful implementation of the project is expected to contribute to improved livelihood of Laikipia community.
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