KENYA – The Kenyan National Government has earmarked US$4.6 million for the expansion of the Kapsabet milk cooling plant, transforming it into a fully-equipped milk processing facility complete with packaging capabilities.

This initiative is aimed at empowering farmers and adding value to their produce. The announcement was made by Simon Chelugui, the Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development.

Chelugui emphasized that the expanded plant would play a crucial role in boosting milk production, with the ultimate goal of reaching 10 billion liters per year, a significant increase from the current 5.2 billion liters.

He urged local farmers to seize the favorable weather conditions and invest in dairy production, highlighting Nandi’s potential to produce over 5,000 liters of milk daily.

Addressing the congregation at St. Peters Catholic Church in Kapsabet town, Chelugui revealed an additional Sh1.5 billion allocation to the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) to stabilize milk prices.

This financial support comes as a response to the drop in milk prices to less than Sh35 per liter. The new minimum price set by the government will now be Sh45 per liter. The funds will be utilized to collect excess milk from farmers and convert it into long-life products stored in the Strategic Food Reserve.

Chelugui stressed the importance of strengthening the dairy sector, noting its significance in providing a livelihood for many Kenyan farmers who rely on milk income to support their families.

Accompanied by Members of Parliament Julius Melly and Josses Lelmengit, he urged farmers to diversify their agricultural activities by embracing coffee farming.

Tinderet Sub County, with 7,000 acres under coffee, was identified as an ideal region for coffee production. Chelugui encouraged farmers to engage in coffee farming, citing its vast economic potential.

He outlined government strategies to protect the crop, including reforms at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange and collaboration with county governments to employ field extension officers to educate farmers on modern coffee farming practices.

As part of the efforts to boost coffee productivity, the Nandi County government is constructing a multimillion-shilling coffee milling plant at Songhor Soba ward in Tinderet.

This project aims to enhance productivity and increase farmers’ earnings through value addition. Historically a leading coffee producer in Kenya, Nandi County has faced challenges due to price fluctuations and exploitation by brokers, leading to decreased interest among growers.

The government’s initiatives aim to revitalize coffee farming and restore its prominence in the region.