Women dairy farmers in Kenya are set to benefit from a new partnership that aims to boost milk production and access to better income.
The five companies namely Land O’Lakes Venture37, Corteva Agriscience, Bidco Land O’Lakes, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI Kenya), and Forage Genetics International (FGI) will work with at least 5,000 small scale women dairy farmers from Kiambu. Kericho, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Meru, and Nyeri. The partnership seeks to boost milk production, the supply of nutritional dairy products, and in turn improve income to the farmers.
The program which will run for two years will spend approximately Ksh37.5 million shillings in a bid to strengthen dairy production through sustainable farming practices in order to dwindle the annual 2.2-billion-liter dairy products gap in the country.
Forage Genetics International (FGI) will offer expert knowledge in forage management, Corteva will provide education and agronomic training to the smallholder women farmers, ILRI will offer locally-based, world capabilities, and livestock management practices. Bidco Land O’Lakes will offer expert advice on dairy animal feeding, while Land O’Lakes will offer advanced dairy technologies.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) reports that at least 800,000 Kenyan small-scale farmers depend on dairy farming for their livelihood. However, due to little to no technological advancements in place, many farmers have no capacity to increase their milk yield. This is despite the sector contributing 8% of Gross Domestic Product with annual milk production of 3.43 billion liters.
Most small-scale dairy farmers in Kenya set back by lack of reliable statistical information on milk market outlets, low quantity and quality of animal feeds, poor rural infrastructure, low technical skills on husbandry practices, lack of collateral for loans, 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 providing tools and training to help increase yield stability, optimize inputs, and improve climate resilience.” Said Ms. Anne Alonzo, the Senior Vice President of External Affairs at Corteva Agriscience.
Ms. Anne Alonzo 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 also noted the critical role women play in agriculture as well as how government policies can build more inclusive agriculture and food systems.