Patrick Sitonik, a farmer from Chongenwa Village, Konoin District, Bomet County is a happy man. The reason being that he has started enjoying the returns from his dairy project which had been lying dormant for over 30 years.
In 1982, under the assistance of The Kingdom of Netherlands he constructed a big zero grazing unit for eight cows. Within a short period of time cash was flowing as a result of the milk proceeds. However this was short lived. In the mid 1990’s the dairy sector went hay-wire before crushing and sinking with all his investment.
The 1945 born farmer was discouraged and decided to sell the high grade cows only to replace them with indigenous cows for home milk consumption. Sitonik decided to venture into tea growing and established over 5 acres of the beverage producing crop. He also farmed other crops such as maize on small scale, but his passion was always in dairy farming.
In 2008, when EADD started operations in Bomet County and upon being convinced on the viability of the project, Sitonik was motivated into going back to dairy farming. “Last year I purchased two high grade cows at the price of Kshs. 80,000 (USD 952) each. Two months ago the cows calved and I am now supplying 32 kilos of milk every day to Kokiche Dairy Cooling Plant Limited”.
Sitonik, who is the Chairman of Kokiche Dairy Cooling Plant Ltd, is a leader by example as he has already adopted the Artificial Insemination (AI) technology, which is readily available at the milk cooling plant. He hopes to become a high grade breeder supplying heifers for the East African Market.
Sitonik has invested in other farm inputs such as a Pulverizer at Kshs. 60,000 (USD 714) which he uses to process feeds on-farm. He has also built a huge store for preserving feeds for the dry spell. Fodder crops on his farm include maize, Rhodes grass and nappier.
“I am happy because my household income has increased and there is more milk for home consumption. My family is healthier!” says Sitonik who also adds that the proceeds from milk has enabled him access credit facilities to purchase a motor bike.
“The people of Konoin and other parts of Bomet are fortunate to have EADD working with them” says Sitonik because they are now maximizing the benefits of dairy. He says there are very high prospects of reaping the full benefits of dairy due to improvement of cattle breeds now that AI services are easily available at the cooling plant.
As chairman he is very excited because more farmers are responding to the sensitization efforts. The cooling plant now receives about 3,000 kilos of milk every day. “We are expecting an increase in the milk volumes due to improvements in our cattle breeds”.
He is also pleased that farmers have been linked to financial institutions such as Faulu Kenya which is assisting farmers financially to have access to farm inputs towards increased milk production.
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