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Special initiative ONE WORLD – No Hunger

Green innovation centre Kenya

Cows in the stable of the Green innovation centre at the  Bukura Agricultural College in Kenya

More than half of Kenya’s population is considered to be poor, with a fifth of Kenyans going hungry. Yet this need not be the case since the country’s agricultural potential is huge, especially in the western part. However, many farmers have to date produced little more than what they have needed for themselves. Most have just one or two cows that only produce a very small amount of milk – often less than two litres per day.

In western Kenya, the green innovation centre ensures that milk production is increased and that sweet potatoes, which contain many important vitamins and minerals, become more widespread. Sweet potatoes and the extra dairy products can help to make the diet of people in Kenya richer in nutrients and vitamins in future.

What is so innovative?

Good feed for more milk: Year-round zero-grazing, high-yield forage production, silage production methods and advancements in breeding and hygiene standards are all measures designed to greatly increase the revenue of 8,000 dairy farmers over the next few years. The aim is for farmers to produce enough milk so as to be able to sell the surplus to dairies. In order to do this, a milk collection system is being developed in western Kenya. The green innovation centre at the Bukura Agricultural College provides demonstration areas, complete with animal housing and a dairy, for training purposes.

Supplying power and gas from an organic source: It is intended that basic biogas facilities will generate energy for refrigerating storage facilities for milk, vegetables and cereals. The gas generated by the installations can also be used for cooking, saving on wood in the process. In training courses, service technicians and farmers learn how to operate and maintain the facilities.

Tuber full of promise: Rich in vitamin A, drought-resistant and virus-free, sweet potatoes are already being grown by 400 farmers. They are supplied with the sweet potato slips by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO). Production is to be expanded to a much greater number of operations. In the long term, the plan is for farmers to produce 10,000 tonnes of sweet potato each year that will either be sold at market or processed further. Among other things, the tubers can be processed into flour which is then used to bake bread.


Our objectives

  • To increase income for 50,000 smallholders by 30 per cent
  • To create 900 new jobs
  • To provide education and training for 50,000 smallholders

Routes to success

Mathias Litali has 0.65 hectares of farmland in Kakamega County in western Kenya. The 52-year-old houses his four cattle all year round in an open-sided shed, only part of which is covered by a roof, and which backs directly on to the farmer’s home. Instead of leaving the land free for his animals to graze on, he uses it instead to grow forage on an intensive basis. "I have learned a lot about feeding in the training courses provided by the green innovation centre", says Litali. Nowadays he uses fresh and fibrous constituents of finally chopped elephant grass as feed. The plant provides the right balance of protein and crude fibre required by ruminants.

He also adds concentrated feed to the trough for his cattle in the form of ground grain maize and cottonseed cake. Calcium is added as well and the cows can get the salt they need by licking on a salt block. The success of the approach would appear to confirm that it is indeed the correct one: "When they are at peak production levels, my cows Esther and Mary produce around 19 litres of milk each day", says a pleased Mathias Litali.

In the long term, the aim of the green innovation centre in Kenya is to help improve the integration of 10,000 dairy farmers into the dairy produce value chain.


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