Livestock Production Mechanization
Livestock production in Kenya is a key sector encompassing cattle, camels, goats and poultry. Previous studies have shown that mechanization for operations is limited. Most operations are manually undertaken. These include; feeding and watering, animal protection, milking, slaughtering and manure handling.
Rationale and justification
Mechanizing livestock production reduces drudgery hence increasing production levels. At farm level, dairying is a labour-intensive activity, involving women in both production and marketing. Labour typically accounts for over 40 percent of total costs in smallholder systems. It has been estimated that for each 6 to 10 kg of additional milk processed per day in most countries, one working day is added for feeding and care. Data from Kenya show that in smallholder production there are in the order of 25 kg per working day. Promotion of increased use of machinery which farmers find user friendly and affordable is key to easing farm operations and removing drudgery in production.
- Develop and validate farm machinery of higher output of forage harvest and grass bailing capabilities
- Promote strategies for scaling up local machine prototyping for cost effective efficiency and increased supply to the immediate community
- Reach out for support for farm-machinery incentives for farmers from the county governments and financial institutions
Challenges and constraints
- Inadequate research and development of agricultural mechanization on various farm operations.
- Limited research funding in agricultural mechanization for specific tasks.
- Unavailability of machinery services and local prototyping engineering.
- Feeding and watering of animals at various stages of development; specific machines are promoted for farmer adoption
- Animal protection operations, against thieves and wild predators and parasites
- Milking equipment mechanization, for hygienic and higher production efficiency
- Slaughtering house cleanliness focused on customer needs towards increased earnings
- Manure handling machinery towards increased use for powering the farm operations and fertilization of the pasture plots.