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Operations of Murang’a County creameries factory revitalized

The Murang’a County creameries (MCC) factory has resumed processing of milk after the facility halted its operations in early 2022.

This comes after the county government handed over the management of the factory to the county cooperative creameries union.

The union is made of 34 cooperative societies and with more than 10,000 members currently supplies 40, 000 litres to the factory on a daily basis.

Cooperatives Cabinet secretary Simon Chelugui who graced the handing over ceremony on Friday lauded the move saying the national government among other partners are now in position to assist the MCC.

Chelugui said the government has plans to help dairy cooperatives by availing incentives targeting increased milk production.

“With the factory now being managed by the farmers, the national government will come in and support Murang’a county creameries to increase milk production. We also want to urge the local county government to assist the factory to add more lines of production.” Said the CS.

The factory was established by the former county government led by Mwangi wa Iria but its operations were rocked by debts owed to farmers, transporters among other service providers.

When governor Irungu Kang’ata’s administration took over the county governance in August 2022, farmers and suppliers were owing the factory in excess of more than Sh. 100 million.

Chelugui underscored the move to revive the plant saying the country’s milk production is quite low as compared to high demand of dairy products in the country and international markets.

“Currently milk production in the country stands at 5.2 billion litres per year and the government targets to double the production to more than 10 billion litres annually. This will be achieved by supporting all dairy cooperatives by providing subsidies, extension services and availing quality animal feeds.

From the survey my ministry has done, there are huge markets for dairy products in neighbouring countries including Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt among other nations,” added Chelugui.

The CS further said they are finalizing a policy paper which aims to set a specific date when farmers will be paid for the milk they have supplied to their respective processors. This he said, will increase liquidity and help farmers from accruing debts which in long run affect cost of production.

Chelugui appealed to farmers to join cooperatives so as to help in marketing their milk collectively.

“Dairy cooperatives play an important role in the production, processing and marketing of dairy products. They have been instrumental in collection, bulking and sale of farmers’ milk to either processors or local consumers.

Through bulking, cooperatives have been able to reduce the cost of milk marketing and gain access to markets and this has benefitted farmers with higher and stable returns,” he explained.

He underscored the need for dairy cooperatives to venture in value addition saying by doing this, farmers’ return will go up as well as creation of employment, technology adoption and growth of service establishments.

 He urged the county government of Murang’a to partner with other state agencies with idle land and make an agreement to utilize the lands in growing fodder.

“To mitigate shortage of animal feeds, the government suggests utilization of idle public lands to grow fodder, this will be achieved by having a partnership and signing agreements with the agencies owning the lands,” he added.

On his part, Governor Kang’ata asked the suppliers and farmers owed by the factory to give the facility a period of one year to stabilize its operations.

The facility, Kang’ata said currently it is doing value addition of 10, 000 litres of milk on daily basis saying in a few months, they are targeting to do value addition to more than 40, 000 litres supplied to the facility on daily basis.

“My administration will give the factory Sh. 40 million as seed capital to help in stabilizing its operations. Already sh. 15 million has been channeled to creameries and before mid this year, the remaining amount will be given to the factory,” he said.

Meanwhile Kang’ata said the subsidy which was being given to dairy farmers in terms of cash, will now be issued through e-voucher.

The e-voucher, he explained, will enable the beneficiaries to access agrovet items, animal feeds, food stuff and also help farmers to pay for school fees or medical care.

“In every three months, every inua mkulima card will be loaded with sh. 2, 400. The farmers will use the money to access items from selected local agrovet stores, general shops and also pay for school fees for their children,” he remarked.

By Bernard Munyao and Purity Mugo

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