KENYA – Kenyan National Government has committed to provide 20 coolers to dairy co-operative societies in Murang’a county, in a bid to support the dairy sector and boost dairy production.

According to the President, William Ruto, once delivered the coolers will promote value addition by assisting the farmers to preserve their milk more and reduce their losses while also boosting their returns.

“The coolers will be delivered before the year ends and will increase the returns farmers receive from their produce,” he stated.

He added that the government is set to channel more resources and equipment to empower dairy farmers and save them from the exploitation of brokers.

“The administration is in the process of procuring 600 coolers that will then be distributed to various counties before the end of the year,” Ruto added.

The coolers will benefit co-operative societies that were earlier this year engaged in a subsidy programme by the County government.

The subsidy programme benefited a section of the co-operatives that successfully bid to be included in the programme that sees over 19,000 farmers receive an extra Sh3.50 per litre of milk sold.

About 13 cooperative societies have been benefiting from the programme that was allocated Sh250 million in the current budget.

The programme’s objective is to cushion farmers from the fluctuation of prices and ensure they have minimum guaranteed returns.

He further noted that the government has plans to zero rate all raw materials used in making animal feeds to lower the cost of milk production.

Ruto further said his administration will establish a Sh500 million industrial and aggregation park in the Makenji area in partnership with the County government.

In 2013, former Murang’a governor Mwangi wa Iria started a multi-million shilling dairy project that saw farmers consolidated into 38 dairy co-operative societies that were then provided with a 5,000-litre milk cooler each.

Under the project, the former governor then started a milk processing plant dubbed Murang’a County Creameries to process the milk produced by farmers while at the same time providing them with high-quality nappier grass cuttings to ensure they have sufficient feeds.

Meanwhile, Uganda’s dairy sector is counting losses as Kenya blocks exports by declining Uganda’s Brookside 116 export permit applications.

This development, which is blamed on the supremacy battle between the regime of President William Ruto and his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta, whose family owns Brookside, has left Ugandan milk farmers and processors on the brink of economic ruin, and Kampala is now aggressively looking for markets farther outside the region.

However, An earlier milk export deal brokered by President Yoweri Museveni with Algeria seems to have fallen through, and Museveni asked visiting Senegal President Macky Sall to allow Ugandan milk into his country.

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