Capacity Building In The Kenya Dairy Industry. Paper presented at the 4TH International Operations Research Society of Eastern Africa (ORSEA) Conference, 2008
Iraki, X. N.
Kiruthu, Z. N.
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Introduction Development is about continuous improvement. Yet Kenya’s agricultural sector has been reluctant to absorb new practices or improve on existing practices. The extension services used to be the vanguard of continues improvement in Kenya’s agricultural sector. Such services have dwindled since liberalization of the economy in the 1990s. If Kenya has to develop, we must focus on the improvement of the agricultural sector where most Kenyans derive their livelihood. The paper focuses on dairy industry and specifically how it can be improved by building the capacity of the main stakeholders through record keeping and other practices, such as hygiene, healthcare of livestock, supply chain/logistics, animal nutrition, improved market access, storage and extension services. The main question is how to build and sustain the capacity of the farmer, farmer groups, and cooperatives. The topic is motivated by the realities of the post liberalization of the economic environment in Kenya where small scale farmers have often been neglected. Unfortunately, the smallholder dairy farmer was inadequately sensitized and prepared to do business under a liberalized economy environment. Therefore, in the absence of subsidized public support services there has been an emergence of private service providers in Artificial Insemination and animal health services but not in milk production and marketing services. While the government was responsible for providing free extension services before, the farmer now has to pay for each service available from the private providers. Thus, the smallholder dairy farmer needs assistance to obtain the much needed technical information and skills in the following areas or subjects: • Milk Marketing and Quality control • Management of Artificial Insemination services, • Heat Detection, • AI Bull selection, • Preventive Herd health, • Management of Reproductive cycle, • Animal husbandry and Management, • Feeding of Dairy Cows, However the study focuses on milk production and marketing services as one component of the supply chain. By interviewing farmers and observing them in practice, we draw useful lessons on how to build and sustain capacity in the dairy industry.