Dairy farmers in small cooperatives in Makueni County have been asked to form one umbrella cooperative in order to be viable.
Dr.Romano Kiome, head of USAID/ILRI Feed the Future Programme Kenya, said that the sustainability of cooperatives largely depends on membership and finances contributed by members.
“For any cooperative society to survive there should be a membership of at least 5,000 physical infrastructure and finances,” said Dr. Kiome when he handed over Sh 70 million Dairy Milk Plant at Kathozweni sub county.
Saying the funds were a grant from the United States of America (U.S.A), Dr. Kiome urged farmers to have the right work force to provide services at the cooperative.
“You should have one quality manager, control officer and human resource to manage the cooperatives centrally,” he said.
He advised them to conduct economic assessment before undertaking any expansion on the plant.
Dr. Kiome promised to bring the US Ambassador or a representative to commission the plant officially including the county government officials.
On her part, the Makueni County Deputy Governor Ms Adelina Mwau called for concerted efforts in increasing the milk production to ensure the sustainability of the project.
She called on farmers to use artificial insemination that will improve the breed of animals and boost milk production in the area.
“I urge farmers to use artificial insemination as this will minimise diseases and get quality dairy breeds that will increase milk production,” said the deputy governor.
Speaking at the same event, Executive Committee Member for Agriculture Mr. Laurence Nzunga said that farmers produce 20,000 litres of milk daily.
He said there was need for the plant to have a pasteurised machine to process long life milk to avoid wastage.
By Patrick Nyakundi