Enterprise

Murang’a seeks to ease unemployment with cow loans

A farmer milks a cow. Youth in Murang'a will
A farmer milks a cow. Youth in Murang'a will receive high-yielding, pregnant dairy cows on credit and repay the loan through milk deliveries to processors. PHOTO | FILE 

Murang’a county is betting on Sh200 million loan scheme to livestock keepers to boost milk production and ease youth unemployment.

Youth will receive high-yielding, pregnant dairy cows on credit and repay the loan through milk deliveries to processors.

Murata and Unaitas savings and credit cooperative societies (saccos) will fund the programme. The pregnant cows will reduce risks of non-serviced loans.

“The cows will be given to individuals or through their dairy cooperatives upon payment of a 12 per cent advance which is insurance premium for one cow,” said Mwangi Wa Iria, the Murang’a governor. “The beneficiary will go home with the cow, wait for it to give birth and start delivering milk to Murang’a milk creameries,” he said.

The county has set Sh35 per litre as the minimum cost payable to farmers for raw milk delivered, whether or not there is overproduction especially during the rainy season.

The county plans to further increase raw milk prices by Sh3 at a time that processors are buying a litre at between Sh38 to Sh41. It has also started a subsidised semen programme, cutting insemination costs from Sh3,500 to Sh600.

Mr Wa Iria said these interventions are part of a plan to grow milk production from the current 200,000 litres per day to over a million litres per day, and uplifting farmers’ livelihoods in the process.

“We have rolled out high-protein fodder varieties which we are given to farmers for free as well as streamlining regular vaccination programme to keep off sector threat outbreaks,” he said, adding that 35 milk coolers have been fitted in every ward of the county.

Consumption of processed milk rose to a three-year high to 541.1 million litres last year, having peaked at 549 million litres in 201, according to official sector statistics.

Packaged milk consumption rises and falls in step with the performance of Kenya’s economic growth, with the rich and middle-income households the major targets of dairy firms.

A majority of Kenyans, however, still buy raw milk from farmers or middlemen who hawk at lower prices.