KENYA – Nyandarua County Investment Forum, which includes local dairies and businesspeople, says it is planning a Sh1.2 billion milk processor in Kipipiri set to be complete by 2018.
Chairman, Muriuki Karue who is also the county Senator, said the processor will be called Nyandarua Maziwa Industries.
He said currently the county produces 200 million litres yearly, yet area farmers continue to suffer owing to poor prices.
“It is only in Nyandarua where farm-gate milk prices remain at an average of Sh23 per litre. The ideal price is Sh50 per litre. This can only be realised if we were to put our heads and resources together as a county and establish a value addition link,” he said.
He said milk sector gross wealth annually is Sh4.6 billion as opposed to a potential Sh10 billion.
“We can even drive that wealth to Sh50 billion. All we need is to put our sector structures right. Seal all leaks in the value chain and motivate the farmer with good prices. Otherwise we will get nowhere,” he said.
He said he has mobilised area dairy cooperative societies to embrace establishment of an umbrella cooperative society that will handle the bulk of milk production in the county hence kicking out brokers in the value chain.
“So far we have raised Sh30 million that we have used to procure a 30-acre piece of land in Kipipiri Sub County.
We will thereafter lobby the Central government as well as the county government to pump resources in this project and see its full implementation,” he said.
Mr Karue, the father of CDF, said he is in the process of tabling a bill in the Senate to compel the national government to allocate funds to all counties for establishment of cottage industries.
“The industries will be founded on the production strength of individual county. In Nyandarua, our priorities remain horticultural and dairy sectors. If we fund our own dairy industry, we will utilise funds provided in establishing a horticultural industry,” he said.
He said a county like Kisumu should be given funds to establish either mining or fishery industries, with most of other central region counties requiring coffee or dairy industries.
Mr Karue said the state of Nyandarua dairy farmers remains pathetic as they have no chance of breaking even under the prevailing conditions.
“Take a case of a dairy farmer who has to invest Sh100,000 in a grade cow, buy animal feeds and also employ farm help(s). The same farmer is supposed to meet other accrued cost of production bills.
Later, he gets paid Sh23 per litre. His net income per litre is about a shilling hence making him a poor dairy producer,” he said.