Dairy farmers in Kakamega are set to benefit from Sh9 billion funding from a Dutch investor and Equity Bank.
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said the investor from the Netherlands has set aside Sh7 billion to put up a mega ultra-modern milk processing plant in Malava Constituency, as well as to facilitate training and sensitisation of farmers on best dairy farming practices.
“Equity Bank has committed to give us another Sh2 billion that will go mainly into purchase of dairy cows for farmers. The bank will give out money to farmers in form of a soft loan in accordance to the arrangements between the institution and the county government,” Mr Oparanya said.
The governor said plans to have the milk processing plant in place are at an advanced stage. He was speaking at Lumakanda grounds in Lugari Constituency where he launched the One Cow Initiative, a programme that seeks to ensure that each household in the county owns a dairy cow by 2025.
“The Dutch investor has dispatched an expert to the ground and very soon works will begin at the site,” he said.
The county has already bought 600 dairy cows that will be given out to selected farmers in 60 wards.
“Each ward will get 10 cows, but we encourage you to go for the Equity dairy cow product that is part of this mega project so that all families can have a dairy cow in 10 years,” said Mr Oparanya.
The governor said the project will help locals exploit the full potential of dairy farming as well as create jobs for youths in the area.
“At least 5,000 jobs will be created once the plant becomes operational, and that will be a major boost to the economy of this area,” he said.
Mr Oparanya regretted that the sugar development levy paid by three sugar millers – Mumias, West Kenya and Butali – hosted by the county, continues to be taken by the national government instead of being channelled into repair of dilapidated roads and infrastructure development locally.
“Even cess funds paid by the sugar firms has been going to the national government at the expense of sugarcane growers who are heavily taxed,” he said.
The governor took issue with the national government, accusing it of refusing to devolve the roads function to county governments as envisaged in the Constitution.