KENYA – Kenyan dairy cooperative movement has emerged as a driving force behind the growth of the dairy sub-sector in Molo Sub-County.

Once perceived as a sanctuary for struggling smallholder farmers, these cooperatives have evolved into industry giants, extending their services beyond milk marketing to include financial services.

Simon Chelugui, the Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives and Micro and Small Enterprises, emphasized the significant impact of the cooperative movement on the region’s farmers.

He highlighted that through cooperatives, farmers in Molo Sub-County have achieved improved per capita income in the country by selling large quantities of milk, facilitated by proper dairy animal feeds such as silage and dairy meal.

Cooperatives in the region, estimated to have a population of 250,000 inhabitants, have not only reduced the cost of milk marketing but have also ventured into encouraging farmers to invest more in animal feeds to boost milk production.

Chelugui acknowledged the role of cooperatives in offering opportunities and services, including improved access to markets, information, credit, training, and warehouses.

Speaking at the closure of a week-long capacity training for over 500 dairy farmers at Molo Stadium, he urged farmers to form cooperatives to tap into market opportunities and attract government investments.

While the government has initiatives to support farmers, Chelugui noted that the lack of proper structures among individual farmers hinders the effectiveness of such processes.

He stressed the importance of organized groups, such as cooperatives, for farmers to tap into maximum market potential, access quality extension services, and secure affordable credit facilities.

Chelugui also revealed that the government, through various agencies, supports cooperatives formed by women and youth groups to broaden their opportunities, boost competitiveness, generate jobs, and increase incomes and productivity.

The training program for dairy farmers covered feed preparation and conservation, emphasizing the critical role of quality feed in sustaining optimum milk production.

Chelugui disclosed that the Ministry of Cooperatives is collaborating with research agencies and learning institutions to train farmers through cooperative movements on obtaining quality feed and the right ration for increased production.

Margaret Kibogy, Managing Director of the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB), emphasized the cooperative model to eliminate brokers and milk transporters who profit from dairy farmers’ efforts.

The cooperative model aims to modernize the dairy sector, enabling farmers to sell milk through dairy societies that also function as channels for quality monitoring, credit access, and dairy husbandry training.

The Kenya Dairy Board, as the regulator of the dairy industry, is committed to ensuring sustainable milk production and promoting the sector.

Kibogy noted the current annual milk production of 17 million liters in Molo Sub-County, with untapped potential to yield 40 million liters annually.

Nakuru County Deputy Governor, David Kones, pledged continued financial support to cooperatives, emphasizing their direct empowerment of members.

He urged cooperatives to play a vital role in conserving the environment and cautioned against misusing funds provided by the county government.

The cooperative movement in Molo Sub-County is transforming the dairy sector, providing a platform for farmers to thrive, improve income, and contribute significantly to the country’s dairy industry.