By: Mwenda Kiriungi

15000 dairy farmers to benefit from a project funded by Italian Agency,

Italian Agency for Development Cooperation project to help 15000 dairy farmers from Mount Kenya East.

About 15000 small scale dairy farmers from Embu,Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties are set to benefit from a project funded by an Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

The project known as Economic recovery project to the impact of Covid 19 on agri food value chain in Kenya is funded by the Italian Agency for development cooperation.

This project is a significant partnership between the Kenyan and Italian governments.

The project was launched on Thursday at Embu University where some of the farmers who will benefit were trained with the aim to increase milk production in the three counties that are good producers of milk and other dairy products.

Mario Brataj program officer at Italian Agency of Development and Cooperation in Kenya cuts a ribbon to launch the right project at Embu university.

The farmers who were greatly affected by Covid-19,the project will increase milk production by 70 percent and reduce post harvest losses by 50 percent.

Andrea Biachessi -AVSI Eastern and Southern Africa Region Representative said the aim is to increase milk production in dairy farming in Kenya.

“We have had other very successful in Meru county and we decided to do another. We are going to partner with county governments, learning institutions and other key players to make sure farmers are assisted,” Andrea said.

AVSI foundation is in over 31 African countries in Africa.

David Cheboryot Director E 4 impact entrepreneurship centers said they will train dairy farmers to make impact as entrepreneurs to achieve triple impact in social economic and environment.

“Dairy farmers should be trained to produce without destroying or damaging the environment,” Cheboryot said.

E 4 Impact is an Italian Foundation which is a spin of business school of Catholic University of Milan.

“We have a lot of academic knowledge. We want to transfer to farmers and other entrepreneurs to pass this into real practical knowledge in the field,” he said.

E4 impact is in 29 African countries and is doing technical work in the project.

Embu CEC officer John Nyaga PHOTO: Mwenda Kiriungi

Over 70 percent of rural Kenyans rely on agriculture for their livelihoods and its a crucial sector for employment income generation and food security.

However it was adversely affected by Covid-19 pandemic which disrupted access of agriculture inputs ,extension services and output markets.

The project aims at uplifting the dairy sector in the three counties using the targeted 30 cooperatives.

Mario Brataj program officer at Italian Agency of Development and Cooperation in Kenya that is funding the project said they are going to fund more such projects.

“We are going to watch this project closely in order to fund more such projects. We must see results because farmers are very important to us,” Brataj said.

Embu county executive in charge of agriculture John Nyaga said most dairy farmers loose milk and make losses as they do not have enough capacity to cool or store milk to avoid spoilage.

“In Embu we have about 21 milk coolers to serve about 133,000 dairy cows that produce about 212 tonnes of milk every day and an average of 8 kilogram per cow. We also have dairy goats that produce about 48,708 liters per day,” he said.

Nyaga said if the project doubles the milk production farmers will make more profits.

Murimi Njagi a farmer from Tharaka Nithi said farmers have been also greatly affected by the high cost of animal feeds and they need to be educated on how to make subsidized animal feeds such as silage so as to reduce the cost of producing milk that fetches an average of Sh.50 per litre on most cooperatives.

Over 70 percent of rural Kenyans rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. It’s a critical sector for employment income generating and food security. However it was adversely effected by the effects of Covid-19 pandemic which disrupted the access to agricultural inputs extension and advisory services and output markets.


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