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County dairy cooperative sector set for growth

The  Dairy Cooperative movement in Kakamega county dates as far back to the year 1966 when the local Dairy Cooperative  was  registered.

Since then, the number of the cooperatives has increased and there are currently 23 active ones with a combined share  capital of Sh.11,476,679.

The  County Commissioner of Cooperatives (CCC), Ben Kangale says the County Government is investing in the dairy sector to make it another frontier for economic growth.

He says the one-cow initiative launched four years ago has seen over 700 dairy cows given to selected poor households in the county.

“The motive behind the programme was not only to provide source of income to the beneficiaries but to also boost milk production,” he said, adding that the heifers from the first lot would be passed on to other households in a bid to realize a ripple effect.

He  added that the county administration has embarked on the project of establishing a dairy smart farm in each of the 12 Sub  Counties and so far three are in place in Lurambi, Khwisero and Matungu.

Each  of  the  model  farms, he  said, would be stocked with 25 pedigree cows aimed at boosting milk production local consumption and export.

The  CCC  explained  that Likuyani Sub County leads with eight cooperatives followed by Butere and Lugari with three  each, Mumias  West  has  two  while Matungu, Mumias East, Ikolomani, Khwisero, Lurambi, Shinyalu and Navakholo  have  one.

He  pointed out that marketing cooperatives lacked value addition equipment as can be seen with Shianda Dairy that used wood fuel for pasteurization.

Kangale said most dairy cooperatives also lacked operating capital and transport mechanism.

The officer added that the members of the management committees do not have the requisite skills.

He  said  for the societies to function properly, they need  to  financially  support  them, while officials require training on  development of  business plans, book keeping, product  marketing  and  procurement laws.

The CCC  also suggested  that the milk collection and storage centres be increased  as  well  as organizing exchange

programmes with  other successful societies for learning purposes.

By  Sammy  Mwibanda

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