KENYA – The government through the new Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC), is set to build a US$5.16 million (Kes 750 million) milk processing plant in Narok County to boost milk productivity and farmers’ income.
According to the Cabinet Secretary in Charge of Cooperative and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Simon Chelugui, the government is aiming to reduce losses incurred by eliminating brokers in milk purchases.
The brokers were identified as middlemen who exploited farmers by buying their produce at a very low cost and later selling the milk at almost double the price, causing farmers to incur losses.
“By building the factories, we will be eliminating the hawking of milk, where farmers sell a litre of milk for as low as Kes 30. The standard buying price will not be less than Kes 50,” he said.
“We target to increase our daily milk production as a country from 1.5 million litres to 4.5 million litres by empowering farmers to do more production.”
The CS also expressed confidence that Narok County has the potential to produce over 100,000 litres of milk daily, owing to the favourable climatic conditions and large parcels of land.
Apart from building the factory, the CS announced that the government will build a modern dairy farm adjacent to the processing farm that will act as a training ground for the farmers.
“We want to empower Narok farmers in all ways so that they can lead in milk production in the country. The milk from Narok is known to be of high quality, which is recommended in the international markets,” he said.
In addition, Governor Ntutu said the county government had set up 30 acres of land to put up the factory, adding it would be a game changer for the residents as the farmers would have a market for their milk as well as many job opportunities being created.
“200 people will be employed directly, while another 1,000 will be employed indirectly. This will reduce the rate of joblessness in our county as almost all these people will come from our county,” he said.
He added that there are estimated to be 300 milk cooperatives in the county, which would be responsible for ensuring the milk sold out is of high quality and meets the standards of the international markets.
Meanwhile, an official from the Ministry of Agriculture has warned of a decline in milk production amid the increasingly disruptive environment characterised by climatic shocks.
Head of Climate Change and Livestock Sustainability at the ministry Bernard Kimoro, said an increase in temperature by one degree Celsius will have devastating effects on milk production.
He assured that the ministry has several projects underway to roll out to help adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
He noted that the climate-smart agriculture strategy is in place to help address some of the challenges brought about by the impacts of climate change.