KNA Despite being one of the most lucrative forms of creating wealth, the youth in Nakuru county have given dairy farming a wide berth ostensibly due to its tedious nature.
The Chairman of the County’s Dairy Platform, Waweru Nyangi said a number of farmers have tried to persuade their children to venture into the dairy sector but to no avail because they despise the hard work that goes with it.
Instead, majority of the youth prefer the easier route owning motorcycles that pick and drop the milk at the cooling plants.
According to Nyangi, children nowadays are averse to anything that requires waking up very early, keeping watch and generally being available at all times. Essentially, they prefer things that can make money while they are away drinking.
However, he said unlike other forms of earning a living, the dairy farming has helped in educating children and building other businesses that have created immense wealth for the people.
Waweru lamented that if things continue the way they are, where the current prosperous dairy farmers are between the age bracket of 50-60 years, the county might be forced to import milk in the near future.
At the same time, he said elderly dairy farmers are also facing a crisis due to the shortage of herd boys and milking workers, adding that in the past it was easy to get such unskilled workers and train them on job.
But due to the presence of free primary education, those who would have been employed as animal keepers are today attending school, while youth dropping out of school, prefer staying in urban areas seeking for elusive white color jobs.
Nyangi added that at his old age, he still wakes up at dawn to milk cows and virtually has no social life since he cannot leave the fragile animals unattended, as they needed constant watering, feeding and eventual milking.
The county Ag. Director for Agriculture Fredrick Owino said it was not Nakuru only facing the crisis of aging farmers, because the average age of farmers in other parts of country fell in the same bracket.
However, Owino said there was no need to worry much since left on their own, the youth were likely to pick up the mantle as reality finally dawns on them.