At least 5,000 women smallholder dairy farmers in Kenya stand to benefit from a new partnership aimed at boosting milk production and improving access to better income.
Five companies – Corteva Agriscience, Land O’Lakes Venture37, Bidco Land O’Lakes, Forage Genetics International (FGI), and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI Kenya)- will work with small scale women dairy farmers from six counties including Kiambu. Nakuru, Kericho, Uasin Gishu, Nyeri, and Meru to increase milk production and supply of nutritional dairy products.
The consortium will spend approximately Ksh37.5 million shillings (USD 350,000 shillings) in a two-year program aimed at strengthening dairy production through sustainable farming practices in order to ease the annual 2.2-billion-litre shortage of dairy products in the country.
The partnership, targeting existing and emerging women farmers, is designed to assist them in new methods of producing high nutrient-rich forage (corn silage and hay) forage harvesting and conservation, providing reliable feed for dairy cattle that will lead to improved milk production. The farmers will also be trained on mechanization aimed at reduction of overall production costs.
Corteva will provide education and agronomic training to the smallholder women farmers, Forage Genetics International (FGI) will offer expert knowledge in forage management, ILRI will offer locally-based, world capabilities and livestock management practices, Land O’Lakes will offer advanced dairy technologies, while Bidco Land O’Lakes will offer expert advice on dairy animals feeding.
According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at least 800,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya depend on dairy farming for their livelihood. However, despite the sector contributing 8% of Gross Domestic Product with annual milk production of 3.43 billion litres, many farmers have not adopted to technology so as to increase their milk yield.
A majority of the small-scale dairy farmers in Kenya are constrained by low quantity and quality of feeds, lack of reliable statistical information on milk market outlets, poor rural infrastructure, lack of collateral for loans, low technical skills on husbandry practices, and reduced access to veterinary and artificial insemination (AI) services.
“Kenya has the highest per capita consumption of milk in Africa at 120 liters, compared with the African average of 50 liters,” said Joseph Anampiu, Commercial Unit Leader, East Africa, at Corteva Agriscience. “Consumption is projected to nearly double to 220 liters by 2030, backed by a milk demand growth rate of seven percent per annum. As a leader in agricultural innovation and a collaborator with farmers, we are committed to provide tools and training to help increase yield stability, optimize inputs, and improve climate resilience.”
Ms Anne Alonzo, Senior Vice President of External Affairs at Corteva Agriscience noted that the new collaboration would have an immediate impact on the lives of Kenyan women smallholder farmers, their families and their communities.
Tiffany Atwell, Global Government and Industry Affairs Leader at Corteva Agriscience noted the critical role women play in agriculture as well as how government policies can build more inclusive agriculture and food systems.
In June, Corteva announced its 2030 sustainability goals, spanning a wide range of initiatives for farmers, the land, communities, and its operations. The company pledged to help increase the productivity, incomes and sustainable farming practices of smallholder farmers as well as to empower women in their communities.