This workshop was held on 10th November in Eldoret, its aim being to share lessons learned through collaborations between SNV Kenya and Dutch senior experts (PUM) with the beneficiaries (Egerton University being one of the beneficiaries), facilitators, the donor and other important stakeholders in the sector so as to yield important insights and practical knowledge-exchange for dairy practitioners, service providers and input suppliers, as well as recommendations for Kenya Market-led Dairy Programme, Phase II.
General Presentation on Feed & Fodder was the focus, Basics of fodder conservation of grass and maize (fresh, hay, silage and drying/pellets) Land preparation, seed and fertilization Basic techniques of forage harvesting, Grazing/pasture management and cut and carry, Risk and losses in fodder conservation, Machinery and contracting, Cost price, contracting and economy of fodder conservation and Analyzing, ration formulation and feeding. This gave participants the general insight of the fodder situations and interventions, case studies being the supported farms and institutions.
A feedback session from the beneficiaries (farmers and stakeholders)aimed at drawing experiences from those supported and the Feedback from KMDP supported Clients (MSF/CFP) included Changes in farm management, including fodder, Investments in the farms and new business opportunities, Impact on productivity/profitability of the farm operations and Spin off to other farms/farmers (e.g. study groups, demos, training)
The recommendations for Phase II were presented in working groups on the sub themes:
a. Response on PUM/Client presentations on “lessons learned and recommendations”
b. Opportunities for innovations and (local/international) for investors in the fodder/feed sector
c. Suggestions for policy reforms & opportunities for public private of partnerships
Lessons learnt included: Feed & Fodder has proven to be the key sector issue, Fodder management is from “Seed to Feed” not just cow issues, Grass (fresh and conserved) is a good avenue to cheap milk production, Single focus on hay is not beneficial for Kenyan dairy farming, Specialized agricultural contracting services is the way forward, KMDP has opened farm gates for learning and sharing and Feed & Fodder is key to improve dairy farm economics
Recommendations for the next phase were
Feed & Fodder will remain the key issue, continued support for farm mechanization and agriculture contracting, Promote innovations with regard to packaging for grass and maize, Link up with professional feed / soil labs, Feed rationing and fodder planning, Training, study groups and exchange of knowledge New maize seed varieties with focus on stay green, digestibility and starch, New fodder seed varieties (grass, lucerne, sorghum etc..), Demo plots for fodder crop management and new seed varieties. SNV will pilot the stay green variety in all institutions to improve the quality of the silage.
Apart from Skills, it is evident that major bottleneck in the Kenyan dairy industry is feed and fodder, establishment and utilization. PUM will focus on this in the KMDP phase II and Egerton University is one of the institutions benefiting from the advisory missions.