Dairy farming provides food, income and employment for approximately 1.8 million people in Kenya; farmers, transporters, traders and vendors, employees of dairy societies, milk processors, input suppliers and service providers, retailers and distributors. The Kenya Market-led Dairy Programme works to professionalise the dairy sector to increase the income of smallholder dairy famers.
Benson (27 year old) and his wife Leticia (26 year old) are two of the farmers the project works with. They decided to practice dairy farming despite the fact that they both have different careers. Benson is trained as an electrician while Leticia studied accounting.
Benson and Leticia started dairy farming in February 2015 after attending four training sessions offered by SNV and partners. Their dairy farm is 14 acres. On it they keep three cows; one adult cow, one heifer and a calf. They have some additional land, where they grow feeds like maize and Napier grass. Their cow produces around 15 liters of milk per day.
Leticia and Benson on their farm
The couple took out a loan to start their dairy business. Like most other smallholder farmers they faced challenges like small land size, diseases and low income. They said that the SNV training had a great impact on them: they started viewing their dairy farm differently and started thinking how they could grow their business. Benson and Leticia built two silos of silage and they plan grow their business by buying land and additional cows.
Benson and Leticia are an inspiration at a time when many young people are moving to the city in search of other work.