A Sh400 million milk processing facility in Nandi County could help restore hope in farmers who have struggled with low prices for long.
The first phase of the Nandi Dairy Cooperative Union factory in Kabiyet is expected to be completed in July.
The plant is set to process about 100,000 litres of milk per day bulked by member societies. It will also advance better pay to farmers.
The county government has financed the first phase at Sh135 million, while the World Bank, which will fund 25 per cent of the project, has already spent Sh100 million.
“We expect the initial phase of Nandi Dairy Cooperative Union to start processing milk in the next four months. We have already received machinery for installation from manufacturers in France and awaiting others from Russia and China,” said Abraham Rugut, the chairman of the union.
Mr Rugut said there are over 41 dairy cooperative societies in Nandi, which produce over 300,000 litres of milk on a daily basis, and the new project will boost agribusiness through value addition and better household incomes.
He said the cooperative union that was started in 2014 initially deducted Sh2 per litre of milk supplied to raise capital for the project, but the initiative failed due to poor producer prices.
“We asked for support from dairy stakeholders and the county government, and World Band stepped in to support the initiative,” said Rugut.
Nandi Governor Stephen Sang said the dairy sector was identified in the county’s economic blue print as a priority area to improve living standards hence a decision to add value to farmers’ produce.
“Ninety-nine per cent of homesteads in Nandi have dairy cows but processors have demoralised them by offering poor producer prices. Farmers are paid below Sh25 per litre of milk yet processed milk in the shelves goes for Sh120 a litre – a huge disparity,” said Sang.
The governor said the plant will add value to produce and ensure farmers get value for their investment.
Sang noted the county is introducing a free milk programme for Early Childhood Development Education in partnership with the Nandi Dairy Cooperative Union to boost earnings.
Sang appealed to farmers to upgrade their dairy cow breeds to enable them fully tap the potentials of the factory.