The Cooperative Alliance of Kenya (CAK) has started a project to train Trainer of Trainers (ToTs) to support rural women and youth in the dairy sub-sector and empower them to become champions of animal nutrition and breeding programmes.
Dubbed ‘Strengthening Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Ecosystem for Inclusive Rural Transformation and Livelihoods in Eastern Africa’, (AIRTEA), the project targets 120 women and youth ToTs that will eventually benefit 15,000 smallholder farmers, 5,000 being youth from six cooperative societies in 4 counties.
Endarasha Farmers’ Cooperative Society (FCS) in Nyeri County, Wakulima Dairy FCS in Mukurwe-ini, Mkulima Bora Dairy FCS and Mburugu Dairy FCS in Embu, and Nyala Dairy FCS and Kirima Slopes Dairy FCS in Nyandarua and Kirinyanga counties respectively are those earmarked for the project.
It is funded by the Organization of Africa Caribbean and Pacific states (OACPS) through the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) innovation fund that is financed by the European Union.
The ToTs are trained on group dynamics and cohesion, production of basal and supplementary feeds, hydroponic fodder production, feeding practices, breeding, genetics and animal health, milk handling and hygiene, record keeping and financial management, ICT innovations in agribusiness, and extension services.
After completion of the training, cascade trainings to other women and youth will follow.
Each cooperative will form a group of two trained ToTs who will be facilitated to cascade the trainings to 20 farmers, taking the form of discussion groups.
Already capacity building has been done on how to access and adopt Management Information Systems (MIS) in a bid to adopt and link the dairy farmers to a MIS, like Msoko, in the targeted counties.
The CAK has developed Cooptech application that will help digitize dairy and coffee value chains, which is useful in obtaining data on number of dairy and coffee farmers, number of dairy cattle, and milk production and sales, in addition to enabling farmers have interactions with dairy experts.
Other mobile platforms introduced are Kenya Agricultural Advisory Platform (KAOP), which is an integrated online platform that uses Geo-data from satellites to generate real-time and location-specific weather information and use Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) selector.
The KALRO selector application advises farmers on location-specific information on crops to grow, forages to establish and livestock to keep.
Farmers have already been trained on use of KALRO’s digital dairy application that has feed budgeting, records milk production and sales, and keeps breeding records. It allows for query and response as well as developing simple reports.
The specific objectives of AIRTEA project are to form a functional Multi-Stakeholder Process (MSP) for key stakeholders engaged in the dairy value chain, increase participation of women and youth farmers in value chain activities, develop a knowledge sharing mechanism for farmers and other value chain actors, and to advocate for the enactment or implementation of enabling policy environment.
By Sacco Review reporter
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