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KENYA – Kenyan dairy farmers have received a modern dairy plant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which is set to boost milk production.
Located in the Makueni county, Eastern region, the fully installed dairy processing plant has a capacity to pasteurize 1000 litres of milk per hour.
The project was developed through a partnership by the International Livestock and Research Institute (ILRI) USAID and the local country government.
According to the Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society chairman Stephen Kyonda, the plant is a step towards achieving their vision of being the leading cooperative in producing quality and quantity milk in Ukambani.
“Guided by our vision of being the leading Dairy Cooperative Society in producing quality and quantity milk in Ukambani, we have no doubt that this plant is not at the right place,” Kyonda stated.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, Dr Romano Kiome, Chief of Party at ILRI urged the dairy farmers in the region to increase milk production in order maintain steady supply of milk to the plant for meaningful processing.
This comes at a time when the country is set to adopt new regulations that will see dairy farmers receive payment based on the milk quality as opposed to the payment based in weight.
The new payment system seeks to integrate all actors along the milk value chain in order to streamline milk production operations and ensure quality milk.
In Kenya, small scale milk producers account for up to 80% of the total milk produced in the country which is more often than not sold directly into the informal market by retailers.
The country is a high milk producer which according to the Kenya Dairy Board, milk production stands at 5.2 billion litres annually with consumption at the household level amounting to 1.4 billion litres while 2.5 billion litres is supplied in the informal market.
However, post-harvest losses is a major change in the sector causing loss of more than 500 million litres every year.
Other challenges experienced in the sector include high cost of production, low utilisation capacity, seasonal fluctuations, substandard commercial feeds, low quality of milk, weak infrastructure and informal milk trade.
According to Kenya Dairy Board the country boasts of 25 large-scale licensed milk processors with a capacity to handle approximately 650 million litres per year.