More fodder, More milk
2SCALE and its partners – milk processors, research scientists, seed companies and hundreds of small-scale dairy farmers – have helped catalyze change in Kenya’s dairy sector. An industry dominated by a few very large processors is opening up to smaller players, creating more opportunities (more choice of where to sell) for small-scale producers.
Feed shortages are a major problem, so the first step was to introduce new fodder crops. Farmers are testing different varieties of vetch, lupin, lucerne, sorghum hybrids, fodder oats, fodder millet and rye grass. Seeds of the new varieties come from four 2SCALE partners: three seed companies (Barenburg, Advanta and Kenya Seed) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.
Field trials began in April and May, on land contributed by farmers supplying milk to two other partners, Eldoville and Morani Dairies. A total of 177 farmers were trained, and more than 400 testing-and-demonstration plots planted, ranging in size from 6 to 25 square meters.
Field days have created enormous interest, allowing farmers not only to see the new varieties first-hand, but also to learn about other dairy technologies and to meet potential business partners. For example, more than 1,000 farmers attended a field day in Nyandarua in May, organized by Eldoville Dairies and the Kenyan government’s Agricultural Sector Development Support Program. The field day included booths and displays by a host of private firms (banks, insurance companies, suppliers of farm inputs), three dairy cooperatives, the County government, Kenya’s primary research agency KALRO and the country’s top agricultural university, Egerton.
An interesting sidelight: at the field day, Eldoville sold 700 packets of Whey Cool – a new flavored whey introduced this year, with technical assistance from 2SCALE.