Factors that Favor Dairy Farming in Kenya

ByElijah Ludenyi

Aug 28, 2023
Factors that Favor Dairy Farming in Kenya

Last updated on March 2nd, 2024 at 05:51 pm

This article focuses on factors that favor dairy farming in Kenya.

Have you ever wondered why Kenya’s dairy industry is thriving? As a country located along the equator in East Africa, Kenya has several factors working in its favor when it comes to dairy farming.

The climate, availability of land, and market demand all combine to create an environment where dairy cows can flourish and smallholder farmers are eager to get into the dairy business.

If you’re looking for a country poised to become a major player in the global dairy market in the coming decades, Kenya should be at the top of your list.

Factors that Favor Dairy Farming in Kenya include:

Kenya’s climate and geography provide ideal conditions for dairy farming.

1. Ample Rainfall and Fertile Land

Kenya receives plenty of rainfall around 1500-2000mm throughout the year, especially in the highlands, which provide the water and grass essential for cattle grazing and hay production.

The fertile volcanic soil also supports the growth of nutritious fodder like Napier grass, maize, and legumes. With vast grasslands and agricultural land, there is more than enough space for cattle to roam and graze.

2. Suitable Temperatures

Kenya has a warm tropical climate with average temperatures that cattle can thrive in. While some areas experience extreme heat, the higher elevations in the central highlands and Rift Valley provide cooler temperatures well-suited for dairy cows around 150c -180c/. Shelter, shade, and proper ventilation help ensure cow comfort even in hot weather.

3. Natural Resources

Kenya has an abundance of natural resources beneficial for dairy farming like wood for fencing and water for livestock and crop irrigation. Minerals found in the soil also provide nutrients for healthy bone and body growth in cattle. With plenty of natural resources readily available, dairy farmers can keep costs low and profits high.

With the right climate, fertile land, suitable temperatures, and natural resources, Kenya has all the ingredients necessary for a thriving dairy industry. For small-scale or large-scale production, the country’s geography and environment favor dairy farming in a big way.

4. Government Support and Investment in Dairy Infrastructure

The Kenyan government has invested heavily in developing the country’s dairy industry.

They provide subsidies and grants for farmers to improve their operations and increase milk production.

The government also built and maintains a network of milk processing plants and collection centers across the country.

Kenya Dairy Board is also working on various measures to support the increment of milk production in the country.

For Instance, The Board’s chairperson Genesio Mugo has observed that Murang’a County currently produces 85 million litres of milk annually, arguing that the county can double the production.

Mugo also noted that with the employment of various measures, Murang’a dairy farmers will be able to increase milk production from an average of six litres per cow to more than 15 litres on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, Mugo highlighted that the government has allocated Sh. 3 billion to improve the capacity of Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) so as to ensure farmers have a ready market for their produce.

He revealed lack of enough healthy fodder is affecting milk production not only in Murang’a but in other areas.

Therefore, provision of cheap fodder, the chairperson noted will increase milk production thus increasing the earnings of dairy farmers.

Farmers take their milk to the collection centers, where it is chilled before being transported to processing plants.

This allows small-scale farmers to access formal milk markets that were previously unavailable to them. The collection centers also provide resources like animal feed, veterinary services, and breeding programs to support farmers.

In addition to building infrastructure, the government has implemented policies that favor dairy farmers. For example, import taxes on dairy products protect local farmers from foreign competition. The government also sets minimum prices for raw milk to ensure that farmers receive fair pay. These government interventions have spurred private investment in dairy processing and marketing.

Companies like Brookside Dairies, New Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC), and Githunguri Dairy Co-operative Society have established processing plants, distribution networks, and their own milk brands. They work closely with farmers, providing loans, animal feed, and technical advice to increase productivity. This public-private partnership has been instrumental to the growth of Kenya’s dairy industry.

With government support, investments in infrastructure, and a thriving private sector, dairy farming in Kenya is poised for major growth. Small-scale farmers now have the means and the markets to make dairying a viable livelihood. All signs point to Kenya’s dairy industry continuing its ascent, bringing more prosperity and food security to farmers and consumers alike.

5. Growing Domestic and Export Demand for Dairy Products

Kenya’s dairy industry has seen substantial growth in recent years, thanks to a few key factors working in its favor.

Growing demand

The demand for dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt has been steadily rising within Kenya. As incomes increase and populations grow in cities, more Kenyans are able to afford dairy products as part of their regular diet. This domestic demand powers much of the dairy industry’s expansion.

At the same time, Kenya’s dairy exports have also risen substantially, especially within East Africa. Neighboring countries value the quality and affordability of Kenyan dairy goods. Products like milk powder, butter, and ghee (clarified butter) are exported to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and South Sudan. The high demand for Kenyan dairy both at home and abroad signals a bright future for the country’s dairy farmers and producers.

To keep up with increasing appetites for their goods both domestically and regionally, Kenya’s dairy sector will need to scale up production through investments in more efficient farming methods, processing plants, and distribution networks. By continuing to meet the growing thirst for dairy in a sustainable and affordable manner, Kenya can strengthen its position as a leading dairy producer in East Africa. Overall, rising demand and strategic growth will ensure the Kenyan dairy industry remains fertile ground for development.

Conclusion on Factors that Favor Dairy Farming in Kenya

So there you have it, several key factors that make Kenya such an ideal place for dairy farming. With its lush grasslands, tropical climate, and fast-growing demand for dairy, Kenya is poised to continue leading the continent in milk production. The next time you enjoy a cold glass of milk or a scoop of ice cream, think of the Kenyan farmers working hard to keep up with demand and building a thriving dairy industry. The factors are all aligning to ensure dairy farming remains an important part of Kenya’s agricultural success story for years to come. If you’re looking for promising opportunities in agriculture, keep an eye on Kenya and its dairy farmers. The future remains bright.