A team of 12 dairy farmers from Sembabule district were sponsored by Fresh Dairy, in partnership with Brookside Dairy Limited for a 4-day benchmarking tour in Kenya from 26th to 29th March 2019 during which they visited demo farms and farmer cooperatives to learn best practices in the dairy enterprise as part of efforts to boost milk production.
The study tour highlighted best practices to the farmers through showcasing to them an intensive large scale dairy operation, small scale dairy farming with adopted technologies, milk collection by a dairy cooperative in Kenya, the role of the youth in the dairy value chain, the importance of mechanization of milking on a dairy farm, benefits of feeding dairy cows on pastures without use of silage and benefits of mixed farming.
The farmers who attended the study tour included Mugabi Sam, Abamu Richard, Kutesa Enock, Mutaggubya Lawrence, Mugabi Wilson, Nahurira Robert, Tandeka Moses, Mushabe Steven, Kahenjire Joramu, Ssenyondo Stefeno, Brenda Tentsa and Itungo Benon.
Commenting on the tour, John Gethi, Director Milk Procurement Fresh Dairy said, ‘All the milk used in Fresh Dairy products is sourced from Ugandan farms only. For this reason, Fresh Dairy works with over 30,000 small and large farmers who are supported through periodical trainings in cattle feeding, disease control, proper record keeping and clean milk production. At Fresh Dairy, we believe that good quality milk products are made from good quality milk.’
Mr Gethi further added that during the study tour held last week in Nairobi, Kenya, the 12 dairy farmers from Uganda were also exposed to various technologies at the demonstration farms they visited to include: use of milking machines for quickened milking with less manpower, silage and hay production for easier feeding by both small and large scale farmers during periods of scarcity, feeding of concentrates to help farmers realize improved milk production and enhance fertility for cows, farm structures constructed with local materials to help farmers reduce on the cost of production as well as manage dairy animals easier, Rainfall recording to enable the documentation of rainfall at the farms to aid decision making in terms of pasture planting and use, and finally the use of automatic drinkers for dairy cows to ensure that animals had access to clean water at all times.
The demo farms and farmer cooperatives visited include Ena Demo Farm in Embu County, Mune Dairy Farm, Kirima Dairy Farmers Cooperative, Demo Farm owned by Youth, Mbucco Demo Farm, and Mangu Progressive Dairy Cooperative.
The farmers appreciated Fresh Dairy for the initiative which exposed them to existing but uncommon technologies in their localities.
Abamu Richard, one of the beneficiary dairy farmers from Uganda noted that having large pieces of land and many animals which have low productivity was a problem they needed to address by adopting some of the technologies seen during the visit. Abamu also noted that the dairy farmers in Uganda needed to visit farms keeping many grazing dairy animals such that they could compare with their own for better decision making. Brenda Tentsa, another farmer said that they needed to improve on the access to drinking water for their animals because they saw that on every farm they visited in Kenya, the cows had access to water at all times, day and night, which in turn contributed to high milk production from their animals.