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Project PDTC

Geplaatst 19 jan. 2013 08:08 door   [ 30 apr. 2014 06:44 bijgewerkt ]











Habari Foundation (NL)

Baraka Farm (Kenya)

Lewa Children’s Home (Kenya)

"Build on what they have"


In August 2011 two board members of the Habari Foundation visited Baraka Farm. At that time Habari’s president, Jos Boersema, worked in the Nandi Hills region near Eldoret and secretary Gerrit Tijmensen visited him. During their visit to Jos Creemers, both were impressed by the way the farm and the orphanage were managed. Gerrit Tijmensen has been a chairman of amongst others Barneveld College and is familiar with vocational skills training in international agricultural education.

During this visit needs and opportunities of vocational skills training for smallholder farmers in the region became clear. The two board members promised Habari Foundation would try and use its network to support the initiation of this idea. As a first step, the Foundation sent Mr. W.A. van der Bent, an internationally experienced expert in vocational skills training in dairy husbandry, to Eldoret to advise Habari. Mr. W.A. van der Bent, until recently was trainer/ instructor/coordinator at Friesland Dairy Centre Oenkerk, the Netherlands (PTC+). This project proposal is (partly) based on his findings and recommendations

    specifically in Uasin Gishu County

In and around Eldoret you find big, weekly cattle markets with a considerable supply. It shows dairy farming is an important activity in this region.

The dairy sector in Kenya is mainly practised on smallholdings: one or a few cows kept in a very small homestead. Sometimes the farmer has another job to earn enough money for the family. Often the size of the homestead land is insufficient for adequate feed production and therefore many cows graze at road borders. Some smallholder farmers have a piece of private land with a fence around it next to their homesteads. This also provides better opportunities for cultivation of better grasses (Napier) and other crops, such as corn. More modern techniques of feed production and forage conservation are hardly implemented. As a result, the already low cow milk production goes drastically down in periods of drought with insufficient fresh feed growing on the land. This, we believe, is the first problem that needs to be addressed.

Secondly, cattle health care management needs to improve. Examples are regular spraying/dipping against ticks, de-worming and consequent performance of vaccination programmes against infectious diseases.

Thirdly, looking at the milking process and further treatment of the milk during transport there is still much to improve. The small amount of milk produced by one cow is often brought to milk collection centres. Poor hygiene and preservation during this process give the milk that reach the milk processing plants (often) a poor quality. This can have serious consequences for the farmer (i.e. the milk is rejected) or for the processor/consumer. Also, the quantity of the supplied milk depends very much on the weather. During dry periods the amount of supplied milk can drop with 80%. This makes it difficult to establish a well-functioning collection system. There are (regional) dairy cooperatives and private processors, but even today most milk is bought and distributed by local milk vendors (hawkers).

Finally, the lack of management skills and economic insight. This leads to poor planning and organization of a commercial dairy farm. Which means one can only expect slow progress or no progress at all when it comes to farm developing as a business.

This is very unfortunate for the smallholder farmers, but also for the Kenyan society. Demand for milk and milk products is high and a better approach at smallholder farmers’ level could very much improve the continuity of milk production, thus the amount of milk delivered to the milk processors and consequently the health and wealth of smallholder farmers and the entire nation.


Developing a sustainable facility for vocational skills training

Primary objective of the project is developing a sustainable facility for vocational skills training in dairy husbandry for smallholder farmers in Uasin Gishu County and Kenya. The underlying goals are:

Improving productivity of (smallholder) dairy farming

Chapter 3 outlines the problems of the (small) dairy farmers in the region. It indicates much room for improvement in the basic care of the cattle. The objective is to provide training and information directly to the smallholder farmers and to achieve substantial improvement in productivity of dairy farming in the region.

Improving food production, prosperity and employment

As indicated before, dairy is crucial to the local food supply and the local economy. The underlying objective is therefore to improve the productivity of smallholdings and as such boost (regional) welfare. A successful project will improve food productivity, employment and prosperity in the region.

Contributing to Lewa Children’s Home

The orphanage can be supported by providing training for a number of children. Next to that, the training facility gives a broader base to the Lewa Children’s Home –Trust fund.

Curriculum and teaching materials

Practical training for smallholder farmers with very limited education, some of them almost illiterate, asks for specific teaching materials. Various textbooks provide the required knowledge, however, written theory is not suitable for this target group. Training in vocational skills needs a clear and simple design of the curriculum, with a strong visual character. For instance by using hand-outs, posters or transparencies, and sometimes by digitally shaped material.

The modules follow the key challenges for the farmers, as mentioned in chapter 3:

  • Nutrition

  • Feed production and forage conservation;

  • Health care of the cattle; Housing

  • Milking technique and hygiene;

  • Breeding;
  • Management skills and economic insight.

Costs for elaboration of these materials depend on where and by whom this will be done. It is very important to use experts, as a good curriculum and appropriate teaching materials are critical success factors for this practical training. Developed teaching materials can, when proven suitable, also be used elsewhere. Investments in development of the curriculum can be made even more profitable that way. It again emphasises the value of the project at Baraka Farm for further development of practical training for the dairy sector in Kenya.