Dairy farmers in Uasin Gishu have started reaping benefits from milk coolers installed in various Sub Counties to help preserve and enhance the sale of quality milk and reduce losses.
Tuiyo Cooperative Society Chairman Paul Kipkemboi Siret and New Progressive Farmers’ Cooperative Sacco Chairman Philip Boit said things changed after the launch of new milk handling technologies across Uasin Gishu in 2017 when the county government installed the milk coolers to boost preservation and bulking of milk thus boosting farmer’s profits.
Farmers from the established Saccos say the 23 coolers established across the County have tremendously reduced milk hawking and stopped traders who used to adulterate milk with substances not suitable for human consumption.
Since the establishment of the coolers, Tuiyo Cooperative Society in Kapseret Sub County which has 200 members is able to deliver 29000 litres of milk monthly to Brookside Milk processing company with daily deliveries ranging between 900 and 1000 litres according to Siret.
“Before the devolved unit donated the coolers to farmer’s cooperatives across the county, the lack of cooling facilities by smallholder farmers had forced them to sell their milk through informal channels compromising hygiene and quality of the produce. Milk spoilage during handling and transportation was prevalent, “he adds.
On the other hand, New Progressive Farmers’ Cooperative Sacco’s Chairman says they have grown and have bought a lorry, a tractor, as well as built a fuel pump for its members.
The Sacco has also started an agro vet business following support given by the Uasin Gishu County Government.
“We pay our members on the second day of every month and last year in December we gave them a bonus of Sh2 per litre of milk delivered. Most of our farmers are smallholders and it became necessary to pool the milk and negotiate with Brookside Company for a long-term programme on pricing,” said Boit.
“Currently, Brookside Company pays Sh39 per litre of milk delivered, with the society paying Sh34 per litre to farmers who deliver themselves at the cooler and Sh35 for those whose milk is collected from the farm gate,” said Siret, the Society’s Chairman during an interview at their offices. The Sh4 difference, he explained, is used in the management of the office.
By Kiptanui Cherono