Kapsabet, Kenya - The National Government has allocated Sh700 million for the expansion of the Kapsabet milk cooling plant into a full-fledged milk processing facility, complete with packaging capabilities. This development is aimed at empowering local farmers and enhancing the value of their dairy produce.
According to Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development, Simon Chelugui, the expansion is key to doubling Kenya's milk production from the current 5.2 billion liters to a target of 10 billion liters annually. Chelugui encouraged farmers in Nandi County, which has the capacity to produce over 5,000 liters of milk daily, to maximize the region's favorable weather conditions and invest in dairy production.
During his address at St. Peters Catholic Church in Kapsabet town, Chelugui also mentioned the government's financial support of Sh1.5 billion to the New Kenya Co-operative Creameries (New KCC). This funding aims to stabilize milk prices that had fallen to below Sh35 per liter, setting a new minimum price at Sh45 per liter.
The funds will be used to purchase excess milk from farmers, converting it into long-life products for the Strategic Food Reserve. Emphasizing the dairy sector's vital role in supporting Kenyan farmers, the CS highlighted the government's commitment to reviving and strengthening the dairy industry.
Furthermore, Chelugui, joined by Tinderet MP Julius Melly and Emgwen MP Josses Lelmengit, urged farmers to diversify into coffee farming. The goal is to increase the country's coffee production from the current 51,000 tons to 200,000 tons annually, particularly in Tinderet Sub County, which has 7,000 acres suitable for coffee cultivation.
The government has implemented strategies to protect coffee crops, safeguard farmers from losses, and enhance Kenya's position in the global market. This includes reforming the Nairobi Coffee Exchange and collaborating with county governments to employ field extension officers. These officers will educate farmers on modern coffee farming techniques to boost production.
In line with these efforts, the Nandi County government is constructing a multimillion-shilling coffee milling plant in Songhor Soba ward, Tinderet. This facility aims to increase coffee productivity and enhance farmers' incomes through value addition. Coffee farming in the region, dating back to the 1960s, experienced a decline in interest due to price inconsistencies and broker exploitation.