By John Kimani and Richard Murigu
Before October 2015, inadequate marketing of milk due to non-collection of evening milk, limited milk uptake by processors, poor milk handling techniques, and low value addition were major challenges faced by Ng’arua Dairy Cooperative Society in Kinamba area of Githiga Ward, Laikipia West Sub County.
A 5,000-litre milk cooler donated by a processor did not help much because the cooler could not receive evening milk and the members were incurring Kshs 1.50 per litre as charges for milk chilling.
The persistent challenges faced by the farmers prompted the Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) to support 45 farmer groups among them Ng’arua Dairy Cooperative Society through training on clean milk production, group leadership, milk value addition and farmer knowledge sharing exposure tour.
|The milk cooler at the Ng'arua Dairy Cooperative premises in Kinamba, Laikipia West|
The cooperative together with two others benefited through provision of a 10,000-litre capacity milk cooler by the County government.
Mr. John Ndegwa, Secretary Ng’arua Dairy Cooperative Society noted that the support provided by ASDSP and the Laikipia County Government has enabled the 1700 farmer organization to increase the shelf life of members milk.
This has empowered the group as they can now freely negotiate for better prices with buyers.
The cooperative has managed to increase milk supply from 3,000 litres to 8,400 litres by January 2016. The price of milk has increased by a bonus of kshs 3 per litre due to chilling. This has enabled the cooperative to generate an extra Kshs 756,000 per month.
“The trainings received by members of the cooperative through ASDSP, good rains and the cooler received from the Laikipia County Government have helped in the milk increase. Our members have been able to increase their income through increased production and better marketing,” said Mr. Ndegwa.