Dairy farming in Kericho is a significant economic activity that provides a livelihood for many people. The county has favorable climatic conditions for dairy farming, and its proximity to major urban centers such as Nairobi and Kisumu makes it an attractive location for dairy farmers. Despite these advantages, dairy farmers in Kericho face numerous challenges that hinder their ability to achieve optimal production levels and profitability. In this blog post, we will explore some of the challenges that dairy farmers face in Kericho.
- High cost of production Dairy farming in Kericho is expensive due to high input costs, including animal feed, labor, and veterinary services. These costs often eat into the profits of dairy farmers, making it difficult for them to make a decent income from their farming activities.
- Limited access to finance Access to finance is a significant challenge for dairy farmers in Kericho. Many small-scale farmers lack the capital required to invest in their farms or purchase essential equipment such as milking machines, cooling tanks, and feed storage facilities. The lack of finance hinders their ability to improve their farming practices, resulting in low production levels.
- Poor quality of animal breeds The quality of animal breeds in Kericho is a major challenge for dairy farmers. Most farmers keep local breeds that have low milk yields and are susceptible to diseases. While there are improved breeds available, they are often expensive and not accessible to small-scale farmers.
- Inadequate extension services Extension services are essential in supporting dairy farmers to improve their production practices. However, in Kericho, extension services are limited, and farmers often lack access to the latest farming technologies and practices. This results in suboptimal production levels and low yields.
- Inadequate market access Dairy farmers in Kericho face challenges accessing markets for their milk. Many of the farmers rely on informal markets, where they sell their milk at low prices. Formal markets such as supermarkets and dairy cooperatives are often inaccessible to small-scale farmers due to stringent quality standards, lack of transport, and insufficient volumes of milk.
- Climate change Kericho is experiencing the adverse effects of climate change, including erratic rainfall patterns and prolonged droughts. These conditions often result in low crop yields, insufficient pasture, and increased incidence of disease outbreaks. The effects of climate change are particularly severe for small-scale farmers who lack the resources to invest in resilient farming practices.
In conclusion, dairy farming in Kericho faces numerous challenges that hinder its growth and development. To overcome these challenges, there is a need for concerted efforts by the government, private sector, and development partners to provide farmers with access to finance, extension services, and improved animal breeds. Additionally, farmers should adopt resilient farming practices that can mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure sustainable dairy production in Kericho.