Inspiring stories on dairy development in Kenya

Published on
March 23, 2017

Den Haag, Wageningen, 22 March 2017 - SNV and Wageningen University & Research yesterday presented their book ‘Dairy matters, inspiring stories on dairy development in Kenya’. It compiles 18 stories of success and struggle of participants in the Kenya Market-led Dairy Programme. The aim of the book is to inspire professionals in the dairy sector to initiate similar projects to professionalise the dairy sector in developing countries.

The dairy industry is the largest agricultural sub-sector in Kenya. Its growth and competitiveness are constrained by high costs and low quality raw milk. The SNV-led Kenya Market-led Dairy Programme (KMDP) addresses these constraints by providing skills and knowledge to actors in the value chain, as well as enhancing linkages between Kenyan and Dutch companies. In line with the aid-to-trade agenda, KMDP transitions the Kenyan dairy sector towards professionalism, sustainability and competitiveness. The KMDP is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nairobi.

‘Dairy matters’ introduces 18 farmers and their cooperatives, showcasing the improvements in different regions in Kenya. The collected stories show improvements in farm management practices, investments, achievements and results, but also of the struggles and difficulties people encounter. According to SNV’s KPMD project leader Anton Jansen, they confirm the fact that "there are no easy shortcuts to development".

One of the farmers included in the book, Mr Samson Kipchumba grabbed the opportunities offered to him by KMDP. Within seven years he has been able to grow his herd from one to eight cows, adopting the good practices of total dairy farm management. He is now able to take care of his family: "The programme’s consultant was instrumental in changing my mind set on dairy farming." Smallholder Mr Jackson Keitany also profited from the knowledge he gained through KMDP: "I noticed that other farmers were challenged to keep their cows alive, I did not have the same struggles. That made me very happy. Due to silage my cows are well-fed throughout the dry period."

‘Dairy matters’ offers an overview of the work that the Kenya Market-led Dairy Programme has been doing over the past four years. The programme works with partners in the entire dairy value chain. Although the positive impact of the KMDP on the sector has been described in various reports, personal stories involved are the best testimony of its effect in practice. Co-author Jan van der Lee from Wageningen University & Research states "after all, development is not about programmes, it’s about people".

Author Ida Rademaker experienced that knowledge exchange and the creation of co-ownership were key to adapt and adopt modern technologies by beneficiaries in all 18 case studies. "Sharing costs with either SNV or other farmers to, for example, receive knowledge or use agricultural equipment, has convinced farmers to work hard".


Photos of the presentation of the book can be downloaded here.

About the Kenya Market-led Dairy Programme

The SN-led Kenya Market-led Dairy Programme (KMDP) phase I started 1 July 2012 and ended 31 December 2015. The programme aimed to contribute to the development of a vibrant and competitive dairy sector with beneficiaries across the value chain. The first phase of the programmes focused on (1) increasing efficiency, effectiveness & inclusiveness of the dairy value chain; (2) promoting interventions and innovations that address systemic issues.

The second phase of KMDP started 1 October 2016. It aims to facilitate the transition from aid-to-trade relations by enhancing business linkages between Dutch and Kenyan companies active in the dairy sector. This is expected to contribute to a more sustainable model for dairy sector development, as well as knowledge exchange, transfer of skills and technology, and cross border investments.

The KMDP, phase I and II, is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nairobi.

About SNV Netherlands Development Organisation

SNV is a not-for-profit international development organization. Founded in the Netherlands in 1965, we have built a long-term, local presence in over 30 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin-America. Our global team of local and international advisors works with local partners to equip communities, businesses and organisations with the tools, knowledge and connections they need to increase their incomes and gain access to basic services – empowering them to break the cycle of poverty and guide their own development.

For more information about SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and its work, please visit

About Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen University & Research is a collaboration between Wageningen University and the Wageningen Research foundation. The research institute Wageningen Livestock Research develops and applies knowledge for a profitable and sustainable livestock sector in countries worldwide. Therefore we cooperate in international research programs and carry out projects all over the world. Our focus is on valorising and internationalising knowledge and technology of Wageningen Research to developing countries and emerging economies.

For more information, please contact:

Jan van der Lee
Senior Advisor Sustainable Livestock Systems
T: +31 (0)317 481348

Rik Overmars
SNV Market Development Manager Agriculture
T: +31 (0)6 55493454