KENYA – The construction of the Nandi Dairy Cooperative Factory in Nandi County is nearing completion, marking the dawn of a promising period of economic growth for the region’s dairy farmers.

This state-of-the-art milk processing plant, one of the largest in the North Rift region, is set to empower dairy farmers, provide value addition, and boost agro-processing capabilities to double their income and realize more profits.

Located in Kabiyet township, Mosop Sub County, this revolutionary facility is expected to process over 200,000 liters of milk per day.

Notably, it promises to eliminate the exploitation of dairy farmers by middlemen, create both direct and indirect employment opportunities, and enhance the nutrition of Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) pupils.

Nandi County Governor Stephen Sang, who has been instrumental in spearheading the project, confirmed that the factory’s construction, which commenced in 2019, is now at an impressive 80 percent completion.

He emphasized the importance of finalizing critical components such as waste treatment facilities and standby generators to ensure seamless operation.

“The timeline for our project aims to conclude all remaining tasks within the next three months, after which we will proceed with equipment testing and transition to full-scale dairy processing. It would be a disservice to the taxpayers if we are unable to source sufficient raw materials from our own farmers,” he said.

The Department of Agriculture is also actively installing milk coolers in areas with high milk production within the county.

This initiative is aimed at reducing the distance between farm gates and markets, as well as addressing post-harvest losses, ensuring that the milk reaches processing facilities in optimal condition.

“Since the advent of Devolution in 2013, dairy farmers in Nandi County have been advocating for the establishment of such a milk processing plant to purchase and process milk directly from them, thereby eliminating the exploitation by middlemen,” Governor Sang highlighted.

“These intermediaries often purchase a liter of milk at a mere Sh30 before transporting it to urban centers, where it is sold at Sh70 per liter, doubling the buying price.”

The impending completion of the Nandi Dairy Cooperative Factory has been welcomed with enthusiasm by dairy farmers in the region.

Daniel Korir, a local dairy farmer, commented on the significance of value addition noting that without value additions, the returns have been low.

“If the prices increase, it will motivate more farmers into dairy farming. The county government should initiate branding and packaging the milk.”

In addition to the dairy plant, Governor Stephen Sang has also shown his commitment to enhancing agricultural production and improving the livelihoods of farmers.

Recently, he inaugurated the Nandi Chicken Slaughter House located within Kapsabet municipality. The facility boasts a processing capacity of 500 birds per hour, contributing to the economic empowerment of poultry farmers in the region.