In an effort to enhance dairy farming and increase milk production, approximately 3,800 Kenyan dairy farmers in Kirinyaga County have been granted access to subsidized Artificial Insemination (AI) services. The program, initiated under the leadership of Governor Anne Waiguru through the Wezesha Kirinyaga empowerment program, aims to upgrade the county’s cattle breeds and ultimately raise milk production levels. By providing affordable AI services, the program seeks to benefit the local dairy farming community and improve their livelihoods.
Enhancing Milk Production through AI
The subsidized AI program implemented in Kirinyaga County aims to serve over 50,000 cows with semen from high milk-producing cattle breeds. Governor Waiguru explains that the initiative is designed to provide dairy farmers with a new breed of cattle that can significantly increase milk production, potentially raising the average yield from the current five liters to around 12 liters per cow per day. This increase in milk production has the potential to boost farmers’ income through increased milk sales.
The AI program is being carried out through four Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) with a focus on 60 dairy community interest groups. The CBOs are provided with semen, nitrogen tanks, and technical expertise necessary for offering AI services to the dairy farmers. The primary objective of this initiative is to ensure that farmers can increase their milk production and, consequently, improve their living standards.
Significant Cost Reduction and Quality Improvement
Governor Waiguru highlights the substantial reduction in the cost of AI services as a key achievement of the program. By making AI services more affordable, the initiative ensures that dairy farmers can access the benefits of artificial insemination without facing financial burdens. Additionally, the quality of the cattle breeds has significantly improved, which translates into increased milk production once the calves mature and begin producing milk.
Testimonials from Farmers
Titus Gatua, a member of the Ndia Dairy CBO, expresses his gratitude for the county government’s support through the Wezesha program. Gatua mentions that the availability of machines for producing quality and affordable cattle feed has contributed to increased milk production. Furthermore, the provision of nitrogen tanks for semen storage will further enhance the quality of their cattle breeds and subsequently lead to increased milk production, resulting in higher incomes for the farmers.
Impact on Dairy Farmer Groups
Farmers in Kirinyaga County are enthusiastic about the affordable AI services provided by the county government. The extension officers responsible for offering these services have been prompt and responsive to the farmers’ needs. Previously, farmers would be charged Ksh. 1,000 for AI services, but now the cost has been reduced to Ksh. 500, resulting in significant savings for the farmers. The support from the county government has been highly appreciated by the dairy farming community.
Holistic Support for Dairy Farmers
In addition to the subsidized AI program, the county government is actively supporting 66 dairy farmer groups across the region in producing quality feeds for their cattle. By improving the nutritional intake of dairy cattle, milk production is expected to increase further. This comprehensive approach demonstrates the commitment of the county government to uplift the dairy farming sector and improve the overall livelihoods of farmers.
The subsidized Artificial Insemination program in Kirinyaga County has emerged as a game-changer for Kenyan dairy farmers. By providing affordable AI services and supporting the production of quality feeds, the program has contributed to enhanced milk production and increased incomes for farmers. With Governor Waiguru’s vision and the collective efforts of the county government, the future of dairy farming in Kirinyaga County appears promising, offering a sustainable path towards prosperity for the local community.
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