Dairy farmers in Nandi County can expect to reap higher returns after the devolved unit announced plans to set up a Sh300 million milk processing factory.
Governor Stephen Sang said the move will ensure farmers have a ready market for their produce and help improve the region’s economy.
He said Sh135 million would be invested in improving and expanding the dairy sector while Sh115 million would go towards building the modern milk plant.
Some 45 veterinary extension officers have already been hired to support dairy farmers in the county’s 30 wards.
“With these plans, farmers will add value to their milk and will be able to sell processed milk to western Kenya counties where the market is huge. We also plan to export milk to the East and Central African countries,” Governor Sang said.
Governor Sang said the county will focus on meeting the high demand in the 14 counties under the Lake Region Economic Bloc.
He added that his administration has outlawed milk hawking to cushion farmers from being exploited by brokers.
Mr Sang noted that milk production in the county is expected to increases since more extension officers have been hired and given motorcycles to serve farmers in rural areas, saying they have been instructed to help farmers to improve animal breeds or replace traditional cows which produce less milk.
The governor said the county is engaging with Kenya’s leading milk processors to start buying excess milk since the new plant would only absorb about half of the total production.
Mr Sang was addressing the public at Kobujoi in his county.
He was accompanied by former Agriculture CS Felix Koskei—now a commissioner with the Judicial Service Commission—and County Assembly Speaker Joshua Kiptoo and several ward representatives.
Agriculture executive Dr Kiplimo Lagat said the processing plant will provide a ready market for dairy farmers to curb losses experienced during glut.
He said farmers in Nandi produce over 250,000 litres of milk per day but most of it was sold to middlemen who took advantage to exploit them.
Dr Lagat said 60 cattle dips have been renovated and are operational since January 2018 while another 30 would be revamped this year to curb livestock diseases.
“The county government is determined to stamp out hawking of milk because the middlemen have been exploiting farmers for many years,” he added.
Mr Koskei urged the county government to ensure all impassable roads are improved to enable farmers transport their produce to urban centres with ease.