KENAFF holds a five-day farmer exchange visit in Kenya

Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF) organized a five-day farmer knowledge exchange visit to Rukingo Farmer Dairy Cooperative Society (RFDCS), Kirinyaga West from 4 – 8 October 2021. The visit’s objective was to create awareness on Brachiaria grass as well as to give farmers an opportunity to network, exchange ideas with fellow farmers, identify solutions to address fodder challenges, learn together and disseminate the information obtained from the visit to other farmers.

Roadside milk collection in Kirinyaga West

Seventy farmers from Mwea West visited farmers in Mwea East where InnovAfrica has been upscaling Brachiaria grass for the past three years. This visit enabled the farmers to get information on the establishment and management of the grass from farmers successfully growing Brachiaria.

Bales of Rhode grass stored at the farm

KENAFF also engaged the local extension officers during the visit, who advised farmers on various animal husbandry practices including clean milk production and handling at the farm level and the benefits of selling milk to the cooperative.

‘The exchange visit provided me with the opportunity to appreciate the importance of establishing Brachiaria grass in soil and water conservation as it has a large root mass that reduces soil erosion, especially in the highlands. Also, it is possible to make hay and silage. Under good management, it’s possible to harvest the grass every eight weeks and this will ensure that I have fodder for my livestock throughout the year,’ a farmer commented.

Mr. Patrick explains to farmers the management of Brachiaria grass after cutting

Mr. Mwangi, a farmer from Mwea who grows Brachiaria grass said that this grass has the potential of reducing the cost of dairy production lowering the need for the purchase of commercial feeds. He recounted that fodder accounts for up to 70% of daily dairy feed needs. He added that establishing Brachiaria grass has the potential of reducing the purchase of dairy meals by a bigger margin because of high crude protein (about 18%).

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This article was first published on October 21, 2021, by InnovAfrica

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