Farmers in Nyandarua County earned Sh2.1 billion last year from milk supplies to one processor, making the dairy sector join potato farming as a leading income-earner for the region.
The earnings from Brookside Dairy went up by Sh387 million over the previous year’s figures, a record that has stepped up plans to increase milk production through installation of more coolers.
Brookside’s general manager in charge of milk procurement and extension services John Gethi said Nyandarua is one of the key suppliers of milk across the country.
Nyandarua North and Nyandarua Central sub-counties that together have more than 20 dairy co-operatives got the bulk of the earnings.
“Farmers have realised there is money in dairy farming and our task is to enhance their capabilities by helping them to improve breeds via artificial insemination and formation of co-operative societies to reduce milk wastage through purchase of coolers,” said Mr Gethi.
Samuel Ngure, the chairman of Nyala Dairy Multipurpose Co-operative Society, said most dairy farmers in Nyandarua now use modern methods where dairy breeds are consistently improved.
The society collects an average of 70,000 litres per day since Nyala established a factory that sells subsidised feeds to farmers who pay for the stocks through milk deliveries.
“Through extension services, our members improve their breeds for better milk output and earnings. We urge more farmers to join us,” Mr Ngure said.
Mr Gethi said Brookside has partnered with more than 35 dairy co-operatives in Nyandarua that collect milk from their members and supply the processors.
Sell to middlemen
Nyala operates three milk collection and cooling centres, the main one in Ndaragwa town has a capacity of 30,000 litres and at Shamata and Wiyumiririe both holding 10,000 litres each.
Brookside has established five milk coolers in the county at Nyahururu, Ol Kalou, Miharati, Engineer and Shamata.
While some farmers insist on selling their milk to middlemen, Mr Gethi said co-operative societies were the better option to drive the growth of dairy industry.
Co-operatives, he said, can pool resources and buy machinery like coolers, adding that Brookside helps societies to acquire milk cooling equipment that reduce wastage and reduce costs.