This is the second part of a project seeking to manage livestock feeds sustainably to supply farmers during periodic droughts that decimate livestock. I’m a firm believer that proper management is a crucial skill that can resolve the most stubborn problems around Africa. That is why I want to build modern large-scale storage amenities to store hay and silage and supply livestock owners, saving their animals and livelihoods. 40% of the storage will also be available to rent to contributors that might be interested in establishing fodder and feedstock storage as a business. The land we acquired in the first phase of this project will host the storage units.
Every couple of years, severe droughts hit many parts of Kenya. You can readily see the effects in pictures and videos shown on news and print media whereby vast open fields are littered with withered carcasses and bones of dead animals. While this is a complicated problem driven by climate change, there is an easy way to counter it by properly managing animal feeds.
Collecting fodder cheaply during bountiful seasons and storing it long-term in the right conditions can ensure farmers have access to food for their livestock thus avoiding losing entire herds.
Kenya has different climate conditions with vast areas categorized as arid or semi-arid. These areas are characterized by vast open areas and thus are favorable for rearing larger herds of cattle sheep and goats which in turn is beneficial to the entire country since milk and meat sourced from these areas are cheaper compared to buying from farmers engaged in zero-grazing or other methods.
The arid and semi-arid areas have unusual weather patterns that are not experienced in other areas. Unlike what many people think, it’s not that they do not receive rainfall. It’s just that it rains sporadically rather than evenly distributed. For example, torrential rains can pound the area for one or two months then it doesn’t see rain for another 6 months. The areas are also warm so grass and crops tend to grow quickly giving animals something to feed on for a couple of months. In some years, especially with the ravages of climate change, the stretches of dryness exceed 6 months
The problem with such patterns is the gap periods when someone can lose tens or hundreds of animals if there is no feedstock to tide the animals over until the next rainy season.
Since actions like planting trees or hoping that carbon emissions dwindle for the climate to recover are much harder to achieve, the quickest solution is ensuring there is sufficient food stored to tide the herds over until the next rainy season. The main targeted feedstocks are hay from the grass harvested within the same semi-arid areas when the rain is plentiful and silage sourced from crop wastes in highland areas. Silage and hay are easy to make and when stored in protected areas can last around 3 years – drought seasons rarely exceed two years! With this method, any farmer can sell 5%-10% of the herd to buy animal feeds thus retaining a healthy 90% of their herd.
This is a workable, scalable, and economical solution that can be replicated across the country and indeed across Africa where periodic droughts make it much harder to break poverty cycles as families constantly lose their sources of livelihood.
As highlighted earlier, this is the second phase of the project whereby the goal is to construct large storage structures to help accumulate and protect hay, silage, and other feedstocks during the rainy periods until they are needed in the dry seasons. I have identified metal and steel structures as the most cost-effective and fast to construct and they offer sufficient protection for the hay and silage. From the 40 acres of land acquired in phase one, 2 acres will be dedicated to storage warehouses constructed gradually depending on the available money. The initial budget for the project Ksh 10 million which will construct 5 units measuring 15M x 30M x 6M high at an average cost of Ksh2000 per square meter. Later we can add more storage houses depending on how the project turns out since the 2-acre piece can hold over 20 such structures.
My contribution to the project is ksh1,000,000 which goes directly to the construction. I started with wood pylons and iron sheet structures which I believed would be cheaper because the poles are locally sourced, but after constructing the first one, it dawned on me that it’s not a sustainable way to tackle the project, especially when considering the long-term usability. So the next storage units will be pre-engineered steel buildings made by local iron sheet companies which are durable and reduce the construction time by up to 50%.
The project has many benefits for everyone involved including the backers who contribute to help realize this dream.
1. Two of the warehouses will be accessible to any supporter that contributes at least Ksh5000 for rent.
2. That way you can accumulate feedstock for your own uses or for sale
3. The roofs of the storage units make perfect surfaces for rainwater harvesting
4. You can rent a piece of land within the farm for dairy farming and never have to worry about feedstock since you can buy it on-site when the need arises.
KSh10,000.00 or more
Get first priority to rent part of the 40% of the created storage space to store your own feedstock for sale later on. The opportunity is available to anyone supporting the project with at least ksh10,000 or more.
Constructing the original wood storehouse
Initially, i had planned to use locally wood and iron sheets for the storehouses. This is how the construction went and although the structure is functional, it cannot offer the same longevity and sturdiness of steel structures that is why am making the switch. These photos show the construction of the wood-based structure. This structure is 30 ft by 24 feet by 15 feet high and can hold 2700 to 3000 square hay bales (20kg each)
|Douglas Kanyi||KSh1,000,000.00||February 02, 2023|
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