KENYA – The World Bank in partnership with the government of Kenya has extended USS$1.1 million to dairy farmers in Limuru, found in Kiambu county to boost milk production.

According to the county government, the funding will assist in the installation of an Ultra Heated Treated (UHT) milk processing machine in the plant.

The implementation of the funds followed an agreement between the government, the World Bank, and the dairy farmers.

Bedan Kamau, the Limuru Dairy Farmers Co-operatives Society manager, reported that the World Bank had committed to partially fund the buying of the UHT processing machine.

“The machine costs Kes145m and the WB had already committed to granting us Kes100m and the farmers had also put aside Kes15m while the county government had promised to donate Kes30m toward the project, “ he said.

On his part, Limuru Dairy Cooperative Chairman Njuguna Chege said that the project would boost the fortunes of the Limuru dairy farmers cooperative which is wholly owned by smallholder farmers.

“Dairy farming is the backbone of our people’s economy, and the installation of the UHT machine can add value to farmers’ milk and increase productivity,” he noted.

Mr. Chege added that the machine, which is currently in use, has been one of the oldest in the country and the installation of a new one will have a tremendous impact on the county’s dairy sector.

 “We look forward to the project because it will save us from the middleman who buys out milk at a very low price since the dairy cooperation has no capacity to take all our milk,” Francis Kabunyi, a dairy farmer, affirmed.

The funding has brought hope to farmers who previously expressed their fear to lose the World Bank grant after the government’s reluctance to fulfill their Kes30 million pledge which was one of the conditions set by the donor toward the revival of the processing plant, analysts noted.

Meanwhile, research has shown that Kenya’s dairy sector is estimated at 14% of Kenya’s agricultural GDP with small-scale dairy farmers accounting for 56% of the total output.

It adds that the sector has 1.8 million smallholder farmers adding up to 80% of the total country’s dairy producers.

The government has therefore prioritized the industry in national strategy and plans to enhance catapulting growth despite the challenges faced in the sector.

At the beginning of the year, dairy farmers in Nyeri also benefited from a multi-million project milk processing plant set up by the Canadian government at Nyeri national polytechnic.

The plant establishment was part of Canada -Kenya’s education for employment program worth US$50 million across ten national polytechnics around the country.

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