In a groundbreaking move set to transform the dairy landscape, the Kenyan government is embarking on the third phase of modernization and upgrades of New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) plants across the nation. This visionary endeavor, spearheaded by the Cooperatives and MSMEs Cabinet Secretary (CS) Simon Chelugui, holds the potential to rejuvenate the dairy sector and breathe new life into the country’s milk processing capabilities.
A Vision of Progress
CS Chelugui’s forward-thinking approach encompasses a wide array of strategic improvements, spanning various locations, including Runyenjes in Embu, Narok, Mogotio, and Kabianga. The essence of this modernization program lies in the enhancement of machinery, specifically the Miritini plant in Mombasa, which will be optimized to convert powdered milk into a liquid form suitable for the international export market.
To ensure the success of this ambitious project, an impressive investment of approximately Sh. 700 million has been allocated to transform the New KCC Runyenjes Milk Cooling Plant into a state-of-the-art processing facility. This allocation underscores the government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and stability within the dairy industry.
Empowering Local Farmers
CS Chelugui passionately emphasized the pivotal role of local farmers in this development. He called upon them to increase the supply of raw milk, which is vital to support the burgeoning demand for processed dairy products. “If we want to improve milk farming in Embu, we must expand this project and ask our farmers to reciprocate with an increase in the supply of raw milk,” he articulated.
The first phases of the modernization program have already yielded significant results. Kiganjo, Nyambene, and Nyahururu plants have been expanded and upgraded with cutting-edge equipment. These improvements aim to add value to dairy products and, most importantly, increase the income of our dedicated farmers.
Fostering Farmer’s Welfare
The issue of delayed payments to farmers, a long-standing concern, has not been overlooked. CS Chelugui has initiated discussions with all 35 processors, with the support of the President, to regularize payment schedules. Soon, a national announcement is expected, which will mandate all milk processors to pay farmers on an appointed date, irrespective of whether they have received funds or not. This measure will undoubtedly ease the financial burdens faced by farmers and secure their livelihoods.
Addressing another key concern, CS Chelugui expressed his unwavering commitment to addressing the cost of production, a factor directly affecting the income of farmers. In response, the government plans to explore the utilization of government-owned lands, including those under Kengen, Tarda, ADC, and prisons, for cultivating animal fodder. The aim is to offer this fodder to milk processors at a reduced cost, effectively reducing the overall cost of milk production for our hardworking farmers.
Support from Local Leaders
The ambitious upgrade of the Runyenjes milk cooling plant has garnered immense support from local leaders, including Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire. She acknowledges the significant potential of this upgraded facility to complement her program, providing free milk to all 17,000 Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) learners in the county at a reduced cost.
Emphasizing the potential for growth, the governor underlines that the county’s annual milk production, standing at 77.3 million liters with an average return of Sh3.9 billion, can witness exponential growth. This can be achieved by focusing on proper animal husbandry and extending essential services to increase milk yields per cow, a goal that aligns with the government’s broader vision of prosperity for Kenyan farmers.
In conclusion, the Kenyan government’s modernization of New KCC plants signifies a resounding commitment to revolutionizing the dairy industry and empowering local farmers. With visionary leadership, strategic investments, and the collective dedication of all stakeholders, Kenya’s dairy sector is on the cusp of a profound transformation. This ambitious journey promises a brighter future, where Kenyan dairy will shine on the global stage, heralding economic growth and prosperity for all.