When Selly Cherotich joined a dairy farmer youth group under Kabiyet dairy farmers business association located in Kenya’s Rift Valley province, in 2008 it was because she desperately needed an occupation that would generate income for her family in the long term. Today, Selly has not only increased her income, but also encourages her peers to join organized dairy farmer businesses, to benefit from accessible extension services that would improve production and access to markets.
Selly is among 176,478 other small scale farmers working closely with EADD to increase their income from dairy. Additionally, the manager at the farmer dairy business where she delivers milk is among thousands of professionals whose jobs are as a result of robust dairy interventions implemented by EADD. Indeed, surveys by EADD and independent evaluations show that milk income per farmer had increased by 281 % by end of December 2011 as compared to baseline results. While increasing farmer income remains the main goal of EADD, there also seems to be side benefits in improved nutrition through consumption of milk. A nutrition survey conducted in 2010 by EADD Kenya indicated that household and individual milk consumption increases with increased milk production.
That has not always been the case; Selly was jobless for as long as she could remember, despite having a college education. With 7 children to feed and educate, She could barely make ends meet or afford the luxury of new clothes. Others shared in her uncertainty at the time, Kenneth Metto, 27 was still a student at the local Kipkaren Training Development Centre, in Rift Valley Province in 2007. Perhaps upon graduation, he would “consider a job in the city”, like his peers. In neighboring country Uganda, Steven Ssentongo, 34, a father of seven was practicing crop farming on ½ acre land; the produce was barely enough to cater for household needs, “each year was worse than the last as the soils became poorer.” More land and fertilizers would ease the load of feeding his family, but he had no money to rent from his neighbors or to buy supplements.
In Kabiyet, Silanga Youth Group was formed as soon as EADD started operation in 2008.
The group borrowed $600 from the youth entreprise fund to purchase three heifers for members who did not yet own cows. That is when Selly joined the Silanga group. Today, she and her husband own a Friesian cow and a jersey. They are also shareholders at Kabiyet Dairy Company. Like fellow shareholders, they have learned to prepare hay and silage to feed their cows during the dry season. Selly supports her seven children through proceeds from the cows. In neighbouring dairy farmer business, Tanykina, Kenneth is now married with one child. He after all never left for the city, but opted to stay in the village after attending an EADD mobilisation meeting in a neighbouring town hall. Today, he is both a dairy farmer and extension worker attached to Tanykina Dairy Company. He earns $118 per month as an extension worker and trains farmers on feeding, governance, milk hygiene, milk quality, breeding and record keeping.
Kenneth together with 15 other people formed Getco Dairy Group where they contribute $2 per week, which cumulatively enabled them buy a cow for each member. Today he delivers between 9 and 10 litres of milk to Tanykina Dairy Limited in the morning. Kenneth’s estimates his monthly “dairy” income at $294.Kenneth Metto
Steven Ssentongo bought his first Friesian cross breed in mid 2008, having overcome his skepticism after att
ending a sensitization event. Just like Selly and Kenneth he too joined a farmers group. His income has increased and he sites his ability to hire an additional half an acre of land as evidence of his improving fortunes.
Through the group it is easy to gain access to extension and advisory services through the hub based extension workers. By end of 2011 EADD had greatly improved the hub based extension services infrastructure to consist of over 750 extension advisors, 535 animal health workers, 310 artificial insemination experts and 109 agrovet shops. Visits to farmers in different regions of the country were “eye opening” as he witnessed best practices in proper animal nutrition which he implemented in his farm to improve production.
“In one of the farms I visited, I saw a dairy cow that produced 25 litres a day” Steven says. “It
Like other members in his group, he learned and planted his own pastures and a few fodder varieties. His cow milk yield increased from 9 litres to 15 litres daily. He sells 10 litres through the group and makes an income of $64 per month, an impressive amount in the local economy. He says the dairy income has enabled him pay his 6 children school fees. “I hired the services of a tutor for my children. The tutor comes once every week to coach three of my kids at $6 a month” says Steven. Nothing goes to waste in his farm, as he adds the cow manure to improve the land soils, and ensuring good produce each year.
The success of EADD in creating employment and increasing the income of farmers is visible across Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. For example last year, the 68 farmer businesses within the EADD consortium paid out over $ 33 million to farmers, an average of $2.31 per farmer per day. This milk income per farmer depicts a 281 % increase by end of December 2011 as compared to baseline results.
Profit making farmer businesses have stimulated growth of infrastructure in the areas and not to be overlooked, the increase of milk production has promoted better nutrition for families.
Residents from these areas are not lost to the developments taking place slowly but surely, in the area surrounding Kabiyet, Selly reports that more and more roads are being created in order to increase accessibility to the interior parts. The local shopping center also has more shops.
For Steven, more members of his group are opening business kiosks trading in household goods, food, a pharmacy and more recently the group set up a Savings and Credit cooperative where members can take loans. He notes that in the last three years, the government set up a dispensary and three individuals set up private clinics and this has increased access to medical care in the area.
Contributors: Brian Kawuma (EADD Uganda) and Jane Kithuka (EADD Kenya)