Farmer Amos Githige from Ciondo in South Kinangop is growing his farm to 10 milking cows by planting fodder, building a zero-grazing unit, and paddocking his grassland. Photo: Jan van der Lee/WUR

Farmer Amos Githige from Ciondo in South Kinangop is growing his farm to 10 milking cows by planting fodder, building a zero-grazing unit, and paddocking his grassland. Photo: Jan van der Lee/WUR

Area: Kenya; rural, semi-rural and peri-urban areas, Central highlands, Rift, Western highlands, and coastal lowlands
Participants: Egerton University, Kenya and Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands
Innovation partners & initiatives (ongoing): Projects: ADIAS, ISPID, KMDP, KAVES, EADD,KSDCP; Companies (e.g. nKCC, Equity, ABS); Business networks (Industry assoc., Africa Agribusiness Academy, NABC-DDP); Dutch agricultural education partners.
Products: Dairy
Intensification drivers: Rural population growth, land and fodder scarcity, urbanization and increasing demand from growing middle class, profitability of dairy, specialization, input and service provision capacity, dairy supply chain development, product quality and food safety awareness, FID, climate change and extreme weather events, professionalization and organization of producer organizations and local authorities, improved infrastructure (main roads, telecommunications).
Report: Please download the complete Light Case Study report here.

A lively trade exists in in-calf dairy breed heifers from Rift to other regions. Image: Jan van der Lee/Wageningen UR

A lively trade exists in in-calf dairy breed heifers from Rift to other regions. Image: Jan van der Lee/Wageningen UR

Using the case of the dairy sector in Kenya, this report illustrates how intensification takes shape within a given context – a context with various opportunities and constraints within which farmers have to make strategic management decisions on the future of their farms – and how sustainable this intensification is. It identifies sustainable intensification pathways for four of the most prominent dairy systems in Kenya – Central highlands, Rift Valley, Western highlands, and coastal lowlands, covering rural, semi-rural and peri-urban conditions. It takes the triple-P perspective of the Montpellier Panel definition of sustainable intensification as starting point: “producing more food with less impact on the environment, intensifying food production while ensuring the natural resource base on which agriculture depends is sustained, and indeed improved, for future generations” (Montpellier Panel, 2013). This case study then informs research needs for sustainable intensification of (dairy) farming in Africa. In these areas the sector is transitioning from extensive solely livestock and mixed farming systems to more market-oriented specialized dairy farming. Entrepreneurial smallholders, who have been main beneficiaries of development interventions that tended to focus on smallholders only, are looking to medium-scale specialized dairy farms as role models. These medium scale farms in turn see business in acting as input supplier and service provider to surrounding entrepreneurial smallholders, e.g. by running practical dairy training facilities, by selling silage and other inputs, or by collecting milk.

Competion for milk is fierce but seasonal. Image: Jan van der Lee/WUR

Competion for milk is fierce but seasonal. Image: Jan van der Lee/WUR

The triple-P sustainability of dairy farming is given attention in this research, be it for profitability of dairy farming, environmental externalities like emission reduction and manure management, and social concerns like gender and youth in agriculture. Currenty and potential coping mechanisms are identified in the context of sustainable intensification pathways.

By drawing lessons from experiences of practitioners in value chain development, this case study focuses on learnings from the concurrent innovations in a number of areas that are required for intensification to be successful and sustaiiable. Many of these are private sector-led, yet still they are subject to public interest and support. These innovations include adequate input supply configurations (business hubs, commercial fodder production), pluralistic advisory services, practice-oriented vocational training, quality assurance mechanisms, etc.

By drawing lessons from experiences of practitioners in value chain development, this case study will focus on learnings from the concurrent innovations in a number of areas that are required for such a transition to be successful. Many of these are private sector-led yet still they are subject to public interest and support. These innovations include adequate input supply configurations (business hubs, commercial fodder production), pluralistic advisory services, practice-oriented vocational training, quality assurance mechanisms, etc. At the same time the triple-P sustainability of dairy farming is given attention in this research, be it for profitability of dairy farming, environmental externalities like emission reduction and manure management, and social concerns like gender and youth in agriculture.

Maize silaging at large scale farm in North Rift. Image: Jan van der Lee/WUR

Maize silaging at large scale farm in North Rift. Image: Jan van der Lee/WUR

Smallscale contracted silaging of maize and napier helps reduce seasonality of production. Image: Jan van der Lee/WUR

Smallscale contracted silaging of maize and napier helps reduce seasonality of production. Image: Jan van der Lee/WUR

Zero-grazing units are widely adopted in more intensive systems. Image: Jan van der Lee/WUR

Zero-grazing units are widely adopted in more intensive systems. Image: Jan van der Lee/WUR