In January a group of FoodAfrica researchers from MTT Agrifood Research Finland visited two dairy farms in the Kenyan village called Mukuyuni. The farmers were impressively well aware of the risks of aflatoxins and the ways of avoiding them in maize.
Mrs. Fidelis Mbithuka owns a dairy farm in Mukuyuni village in the Makueni district. She farms dairy cows and grows maize in an area of 10 acres. Her four cows are mostly fed with the elephant grass and maize she grows in her own fields. Each cow gives about 5 liters of milk daily.
Fidelis is well aware of the risks of aflatoxins and knows how to avoid contamination by storing her maize properly. Most of the information on proper drying and storage methods she’s gotten by participating in several seminars organized by the University of Nairobi as a part of its research project on aflatoxins.
Her storage facility is very modern by local standards and keeps the maize dry. Attached and underneath of the storage is a hen house.
Fidelis is an active member in her community and is known for sharing information with other farmers in the village. She is also Treasurer of the local Farmers Association, which has a dryer for maize that can be used by all the local farmers for a small fee.
Mr. Pius Ngila has a dairy farm in the same Mukuyuni village. In addition to keeping cows, he grows maize, bananas and cabbage. Pius started as a cabbage farmer and was so successful, that he was able to expand to dairy cows. At the moment he has three Friesian cows and his dream is to have altogether 15 dairy cows.
Pius’ cows are mostly fed with maize he grows, but they also get some supplementary feeding in form of dairy meal. He owns an engine-driven mixer, which is used for preparing dairy meal (concentrate) for dairy cows.
Pius’ medium sized farm is very functional. There is plenty of water available all year round and he operates his own water pump. He is an active member in the local community and well aware of the risks of aflatoxins in maize. He has attended some seminars on how to avoid aflatoxins and therefore he does not feed moldy maize to his family or animals. Pius has acquired his dairy farming skills when attending courses at a Kenyan dairy school.