Farmers in Kiambu are calling upon the National government to intervene as they are set to lose Sh 100 million from the World Bank meant to fund the buying of an Ultra Heated Treated (UHT) milk processing machine.
This comes after the World Bank threatened to withdraw its pledged of Sh 100 million to partially fund the purchase the milk processing machine that is estimated to cost a total of Sh 145 million
The remaining Sh 45 million was to be raised by the farmers and the Kiambu County Government.
The Kiambu dairy farmers have since collectively contributed Sh 15 million towards the project.
The county government however is yet to provide the remaining Sh 30 million necessary to complete the project.
The project has now stalled and farmers fear that further delay may prompt the World Bank to withdraw its Sh100 million grant.
According to Bedan Kamau, the manager for Limuru Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society, the World Bank had given the facility management a deadline of December last year to have complied with the terms of the agreement
“The machine costs Sh 145 million and the WB had already committed to granting us Sh100 million and the farmers have also put aside Sh 15 million, it is only the county government that is yet to honour its pledge of Sh 30 million thereby jeopardising the project,” said Kamau
He added that the local leaders had sought an extension of the deadline to give the county government more time to honour its pledge.
“We went to the Governor’s office and we agreed that he would take up the matter which had been agreed upon in 2019 during governor James Nyoro’s reign, and he assuredly told my team that all will be well but the delay we are noticing is worrisome, ” he said.
The farmers from Limuru, Kikuyu, Lari and Kabete sub-counties are pleading with President William Ruto to intervene since the World Bank funding was through the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive project which is under the National Government
“We are calling upon President Ruto to help ensure the success of this project since it will save us from the middle man who buy our milk at a very low price since the dairy cooperation has no capacity to take all our milk,” Enoch Waciuri ,a dairy farmer in Limuru, said.
Kiragu Chege, the MP of Limuru noted that the delay is worrisome as he confirmed that the World Bank will withdraw its support and kill the project thereby exposing farmers to poverty.
“Dairy farming is the backbone of our people’s economy and the installation of the UHT machine can add value to our farmers’ milk and increase productivity,” he said.
The project would have boosted the fortunes of the Limuru dairy farmers cooperative which is wholly owned by smallholder farmers who make up about 80% of all milk producers in the country.
By Grace Naishoo