Farmers at Nsutem and surrounding villages in the Akuapem North District participating in the Heifer Project have increased their incomes by between GH¢1,008 and GH¢2,160 per annum.
The farmers, who have been trained to care for and milk heifers, make an average of between GH¢84 and GH¢180 monthly from the sale of fresh milk.
The amount is additional to what the farmers make from the sale of their farm produce, Mr Franklin Ganyo, Agriculture Extension Officer In-charge of Amanfrom area and the Heifer Project in the district, told the GNA in an interview.
He said since many of the farmers engaged in the project were operating in an area where there was no electricity, people collect the milk early in the morning and in the evening to store at Nsutem that has electricity.
A processor comes there once a week to collect the bulk milk for processing and sale.
He said the project supports each of the farmers with veterinary officers who come round regularly to take care of the health needs of the heifers and also sell drugs and food supplements to the farmers.
Mr Ganyo said each of the farmers involved had to demonstrate some level of commitment, ability to keep records and share experience with other farmers.
He has to engage the whole family in the project so that when the father is not around, the mother or the children could take over.
Mr Ganyo said each of the farmers is trained for a year in the care of the heifer, production of pastures and other feeding requirement of the heifer before pregnant heifers are brought in.
After delivery, those farmers whose heifers deliver heifers pass on the calves to other farmers in the group who had not been supplied their heifers. Those whose heifers deliver bulls had to keep them to maturity.
Mr Ganyo said initially members of the group in the project, known as “Kai Wonua Dairy Project Association,” were supplied with 24 pregnant heifers from South Africa but six died during delivery.
Out of those that survived, members of the association have been able to produce 10 heifers and eight bulls of which 10 heifers had been passed on to others who did not receive any of those that were initially supplied to the farmers.