The livestock intensification project is part of the Initiative for Sustainable Landscapes (ISLA) Programme being implemented by IDH and its partners in the South Western Mau region, with a focus on the dairy component.
The project is co-funded by IDH, James Finlay Kenya, Unilever Tea Kenya ltd, Rhino Ark, Kenya Tea Development Agency and SNV through the Global Agricultural Foundation and Rabo Bank Foundation, and is being implemented by SNV.
The Livestock Intensification Project was born out of the realisation that livestock over-grazing and browsing is one of the main causes of forest loss in the South Western Mau Forest Reserve, which is an important water source, vital for local and downstream communities, businesses, and wildlife reserves alike. This is in addition to the fact that for the surrounding communities, livestock is an important source of income and livelihood.
SNV will, within the period January 2020 – December 2022, promote the adoption of an innovative livestock production model that will enable forest-dependent communities along the northeastern boundary of the South West Mau to increase their income levels from livestock and hence improve their livelihoods, while at the same time reducing deforestation.
Some of the strategic approaches will include:
- Creating sustainable dairy farming operations and integrating this with the regional dairy sector to secure project farmers with a market outlet and service inputs;
- Reducing overgrazing through dairy intensification and through controlled grazing schemes;
- Strengthening existing dairy organisations and integrating the project area into milk catchments of dairy cooperatives;
- Creating a dairy market in new territories e.g. communities at tea estates.
The project will achieve these goals by:
- Improving fodder production and feed rationing;
- Enhancing animal husbandry practices for 1,000 additional small holder dairy farms (in addition to the original 200 from the pilot project);
- Promoting these practices through 25 demonstration farms. At each demonstration farm, 40 community members will be receiving training and therefore the project’s 1,000 target farmers will require 25 demonstration farms.
Reduce open-and forest grazing by at least 50% by establishing a productive dairy farming community of 1,000 farms that learn from 25 well managed demonstration farms and a pool of service providers.
Improve the financial outcome of dairy production at farms and at the cooperatives, proving the business case and thereby providing an incentive of intensifying production as opposed to grazing cattle in the forest.
Enable the enforcement of a sustainable grazing plan (implemented under the Integrated Livestock Project), by reducing the number of forest grazing livestock.