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Dairy farmers visit Kenya to benchmark best farming practices

By Racheal Nabisubi

Added 15th April 2019 01:00 PM

The visit by 12 farmers from Sembabule district is an industry first

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Fresh Dairy farmers are taken through preparations of biogas as an on-farm energy solution during their visit to farms in Kenya. Courtesy photo

The visit by 12 farmers from Sembabule district is an industry first

Farmers contracted to supply milk to Fresh Dairy have benefitted from a benchmarking visit to Kenya where they learned ways of growing milk production through investing in animal feed preparation and conservation.
 
The visit by 12 farmers from Sembabule district is an industry first, as Fresh Dairy seeks to consolidate its leadership at the apex of Uganda’s raw
milk market.
 
During the visit, farmers toured farms in Central and Eastern Kenya, going through demonstrations on animal feed conservation, clean milk production
and general animal husbandry.
 
The farms visited are owned by farmers contracted to East Africa’s largest processor Brookside Limited, who also own Fresh Dairy.
 
“We are grateful for this visit, I have learnt some new ways of keeping grass for animals longer such that when there is drought like it is now, I
don’t have to suffer,” Vincent Kagumaho, one of the of the 12 dairy farmers from Sembabule who visited Kenya said.
 
"I have realised that it is possible to maintain steady milk supply volumes through storage of animal feed, which comes in handy during the dry
season.” 
 
According to farmers, the initiatives undertaken by the processor, together with regular and guaranteed payment for milk supplied, had made many
farmers turn to dairy as a generator of regular income.
 
John Gethi, Fresh Dairy’s director of milk procurement, said the visit by the farmers encourages peer-to-peer education among smallholder farmers.
 
“At Fresh Dairy, our farmers are the mainstay of the business. Imparting skills that enable them to grow production is key in our business
strategy,” Gethi said.
 
In recent times, Fresh Dairy has been upgrading its raw milk collection facilities as it eyes increased share of the raw milk market in the
country. The processor’s daily raw milk intake capacity has grown substantially to 500,000 litres, up from 300,000 three years ago.
 
The firm has also installed new raw milk chilling equipment in milk production areas in central region such as Sembabule district.
 
“We have invested in facility upgrades in the central districts of Sembabule, Kiboga and Mubende as we strive to transform dairy into a viable
commercial enterprise,” Gethi said.
 
He said the tanks have also been fitted with standby generators to address power outages.
 
“This explains why we have embarked on an aggressive capacity building programme for farmers to ensure that milk production rises in the country,”
Gethi said.
 
“Our raw milk suppliers will benefit from a series of training courses on milk handling and productivity enhancement.”
 
The upgrade of collection stations follows a $14m plant upgrade at its Kampala processing hub three years ago.  

 

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