Dairy farmers in Migori County now have good reason to go full throttle into milk production following a move by the national government to avail four milk-cooling plants in the region.
The machines, each costing Sh.3 million with a capacity of 3000 litres were donated to cooperative groups through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.
Placed at strategic locations, the plants were issued as grants to Bondo Dairy Co-operative society, Nuru Social Enterprise, Oyani Valley Dairy Framers Group and Oyani Dairy Cattle improvement farm to help tap the millions of litres of milk going to waste every year in the region.
The County Director of Livestock Production, Charles Nyaanga told the county national project monitoring and verification committee that the four machines would go a long way in boosting milk production that has been ignored in the area for centuries despite the available opportunities.
Apart from boosting milk production, the focus will also be on carrying out value addition to produce products such as yoghurt, cheese, butter and other related food items for both local and external markets.
Although some of the machines are yet to be installed because of various challenges, the spirit to bring on board more farmers to explore the venture of rearing dairy cattle is already on with a good number of residents agreeing to drop the indigenous cows for exotic breeds.
The CDICC committee led by Joseph Rotich who is also the County Commissioner and the region’s Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) Director, Mechizedek Onguso said it was impressed with the efforts being made by the local farmers to turn around the sector using the milk coolers.
“We want you to make use of the machines well in a bid to tap the available opportunities presented in this sector in this region,” said Rotich as he led the team in inspecting the machines donated through the Livestock Value Chain Support Project.
Migori has an annual milk shortfall of about a million litres, a gap that is bridged through importation of the commodity from far-flung areas of Rift Valley, Kisii and notably Tarime in neighbouring country, Tanzania.
As a result of this, milk prices have been unstable, sometimes rising as high as Sh.60 a litre depending on the dynamics of demand and supply.
Farmers already supplying their produce to the existing cooperative societies complained of low prices but assured to deliver more if paid well.
By George Agimba