THE Kenya Agricultural Research Institute has developed a machine to make livestock feeds from crop stokes.
Ludovkus Okitoi, who is in charge of livestock research at Kari Kakamega centre who developed the machine said the manually operated equipment will reduce the cost of dairy feed.
The machine compresses ground powder from crop stokes mixed with other ingredients into blocks that can easily be stored by farmers for use when pasture is scarce.
"A farmer needs three to four blocks each costing between Sh10 and Sh15 depending on the size to feed one animal a day," Okitoi said yesterday in Kakamega.
Okitoi said currently farmers spend up to fifty per cent of profits on animal feeds with a 50kg bag going for Sh2,000. Research that led to development of the machine was funded by World Bank through the East African Agricultural Productivity Programme.
The value addition, utilisation of crop wastes that are normally burnt or left on the farm to decompose and commercialisation of crop residues in dairy feeding is a three-year project.
He said Eaapp developed a technology based on the formation of complete diet in the form of compacted feed blocks from maize stokes, sugar cane tops mixed with minerals, oil cakes and other Agro-industrial by-products. Okitoi said the project focuses on developing sustainable livestock feed system based on crop residue.
"The objective of the project is to develop strategies for enhancing utilisation of available crop residues and Agro-industrial by-products by small holder farmers to improve dairy production," he said.
The research was conducted in partnership of Kari Kibos, Embu, Naivasha, Lanet and Mtwapa centres. Okitoi said the technology will enhance income by farmers, decrease environmental pollution and increase access to quality dairy feeds by farmers.
"This technology was necessitated by realisation that the area under pasture and green forage is shrinking due to population pressure on land," he said.