By DC/PR

His Excellency Governor Francis Kimemia’s vision to re-establish agriculture as the dominant component of Nyandarua’s economy received a major boost this afternoon, when he unveiled the County’s dairy value chain strategic plan.

In a colourful ceremony at CCM Ndudori Primary School in Mirangine Ward, Ol’Kalou Sub-County, Governor Kimemia announced the County Government’s readiness to ride on Nyandarua’s competitive advantages to revamp the sector.

“According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, we are the eighth largest contributor to Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product. In the dairy sector, we are second nationwide. We can only aim higher,” said the Governor.

80 per cent of Nyandarua’s farm families and 65 per cent of households are involved in dairy farming.

The County has a total dairy herd of 349,300, with most farmers keeping two to three dairy cattle, yielding an approximate production of 296 million litres of milk.

The sector contributes approximately KShs. 13 billion annually to Nyandarua’s domestic product.

The 2019 average price of milk per litre was KShs 32/-.

The sector has offered direct employment for 136,270 residents, with an approximate daily revenue of KShs. 29 million per day.

60 per cent of milk produced is traded in informal markets, while 40 per cent is sold to formal markets.

20 per cent of the milk produced is consumed at home.

“Our annual per capita milk consumption is 114 litres against the national average of 125 litres per annum. The recommended rate by World Health Organization is 209 litres to improve on nutrition,” noted the Governor.

Aiming at an average production of 20 litres per cow per day from the current eight litres, the Governor announced the following strategic interventions:

a). Dairy genetic improvement through the County-subsidized artificial insemination program via a Public-Private-Partnership, where farmers are charged Ksh 700/= for local semen and Ksh 1,000/= for exotic. In 2020, 8,560 cattle have been inseminated. This is in addition to cattle registration with Kenya Stud Book/KLBO;

b). Promotion of fodder production, diversification and conservation technologies;

c). Establishment of feed centres for promotion of Total Mixed Ration (TMR);

d). Establishment of dairy model farms for demonstration and promotion;

e). Promotion of competitive marketing and value addition through support to co-operatives with milk vending machines (3), coolers (20), weighing scales, milk analyzers, milk transporting cans/churns and pasteurizers;

f). Up-scaling of promising technologies, research and dissemination;

g). Supporting animal health through construction of disease diagnostic laboratories, carrying out vaccination campaigns and rehabilitation of cattle dips;

h). Construction of a milk processing plant (cooling plant, pasteurizers, packaging unit and product retail outlet, which is a joint venture between Nyandarua Cooperative Union, other partners and Nyandarua County Government);

i). Construction of biogas units for groups and institutions;

j). Improvement of extension advisory services; and

k). Promotion of youth-friendly agribusiness opportunities.

Governor Kimemia also launched a countywide livestock vaccination project, which will require at least 70 per cent of Nyandarua’s animals to be vaccinated so as to build herd immunity.

The County Government has partnered with the World Bank Group under the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP) to purchase vaccines worth KShs. 27 million, which will be used to vaccinate all livestock FREE OF CHARGE against deadly diseases, including Foot and Mouth and Lumpy Skin diseases.

“For the past two years, these diseases have been a menace by killing our animals, reducing milk production, inducing abortions and culling of pedigree cattle,” noted the Governor.

A total of 50,000 cattle have been vaccinated this year alone.

The Directorate of Veterinary Services has also donated 10,000 doses of rabies vaccine to be used in vaccinating dogs and cats.

For tick and pest control, various cattle dips across the County have been replenished with acaricides.

30 cattle dips have also been rehabilitated.

Accompanied by several leaders, the Governor later issued assorted relief food items, water tanks, chairs and tents to vulnerable residents across the Ward, before receiving a donation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Nyandarua’s health workers from Group Chief Executive Officer of the African Medical and Research Foundation, Dr. Githinji Gitahi, at Mirangine Vocational Training Center.