KNA A group of farmers in Kirinyaga County is now reaping benefits from an economic empowerment programme launched by Governor Anne Waiguru, which has seen them earn money from the manufacture of animal feeds.
ACK Thaita Men’s Welfare Group in Kirinyaga Central constituency has been using equipment given by the county government to make dairy feeds for their own livestock and sale to other farmers in the locality.
The initiative is one of Governor Waiguru’s Wezesha Kirinyaga economic empowerment programmes that is transforming lives of the local community through various agriculture value chain projects.
Thaita welfare group was provided with animal feeds manufacturing plant and equipment, which has gone a long way in empowering the members economically.
The group that started as a table banking set up has seen the members grow their incomes from improved milk production since they can now access affordable and high quality dairy meal.
Gilbert Muriithi, the host farmer in whose homestead the feeds mixer was installed, says that before they were given the machine, the members grappled with low milk production since feeds bought from other commercial dealers had compromised quality, a challenge that made them aspire to manufacture their own feeds.
“When we started mixing our own feeds, we bought raw materials and used hands and shovels to mix, a process that was both tedious and slow and even though we knew we required a machine, it was too costly and beyond our reach,” said Julius Muriithi, another member of the group.
“We wrote a proposal to the county government to be provided with the machine and within no time our proposal was accepted and this is how we started,” he added.
The group is among those supported by the county government to increase agricultural production.
Speaking at the Kenya Animal Genetic Resources Centre (KAGRC) in Kutus, Governor Waiguru said that her administration has been supporting dairy farmers to produce quality feeds for their animals as well as upgrading their dairy cattle breeds through provision of quality artificial insemination services.
“The county aims at increasing milk production from the current average of five liters per cow per day to 12 liters per cow per day,” Waiguru said
“As part of our Wezesha Kirinyaga economic empowerment programme, we are supporting farmers to increase their incomes with the aim of uplifting their living standards,” she said.
She added that her administration has so far supported 473 farmers’ groups across the county through the National Agricultural Rural Inclusive Growth Programme (NARIGP).
Apart from dairy farmers, other groups supported are involved in poultry, tomato, avocado, fish, pig production and beekeeping.
Waiguru said that through the programme, farmers have been supported to diversify on agricultural production, which shields them from over-reliance on specific crop production.