Dairy farmers in Gatundu North Sub County are set to benefit from increased milk earnings after the construction of a dairy processing plant in the area.
The plant, constructed by the county government in Mang’u area, will be fully equipped with a milk pasteurizer and a cooler able to handle huge volumes of milk.
The farmers, under the Mang’u progressive dairy cooperative society have been selling their milk to processors from a rented shop in Mang’u trading centre before the county government gave them a piece of land where construction of the plant is ongoing.
Kiambu Governor James Nyoro while breaking ground for the construction said they plan to have the cooperative society reach the levels of the Githunguri Dairy.
“This should be the Githunguri Dairy of Gatundu North Sub county. Through our support, the farmers will be able to make Sh5 billion annually from milk sales,” said Nyoro.
He said farmers will also be provided with veterinary and Artificial Insemination services in order to have high producing dairy breeds, adding, farmers will also be guided on the production of their own animal feeds to reduce cost of production.
“Farmers will be given consultants to develop a five-year strategic plan for the plant. Because the weather is favorable for milk production, we hope to boost milk production and drive out poverty in the area by ensuring farmers have high producing dairy breeds,” he said.
He said they will pump in Sh150 million to the 23 dairy cooperative societies in the county to boost them to enable them acquire pasteurizers and coolers. “What we shall discourage however the societies is packaging their own milk. This will come later,” he said.
The Society Manager Bernard Mugumo welcomed the project saying farmers will have to increase production to be able maximize the use of the pasteurizer and cooler.
He said farmers will also feel encouraged to rear dairy cows as it will be profitable adding that the plant will drive away brokers who have been exploiting farmers by buying their produce cheaply.
The manager said the society targets to increase milk collection from the current 20,000 liters to over 30,000 litres daily in the next five months.
“From the current 180 farmers, we are able to collect 20,000 litres of milk. However, in the next five years, we hope to increase it to 30,000 litres. After putting in the necessary equipment, we shall then be able to expand and do value addition,” said Mugumo.
The cooperative was started in 2014 with 23 farmers collecting 115 litres of milk daily. Kimani Gachii, a farmer, asked the county government to also provide them with a vehicle to help in transportation of milk.
Most of the farmers are from Mwea, Mukurwe, Gokoe and Nyamangara areas.
By Lucy Lumumba and Muoki Charles