By Wasike Elvis.
National Government has started paying dairy farmers the money Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) has owed them for 20 years.
Deputy President William Ruto said Sh500m has been set aside to offset the debt across the country.
“In Uasin Gishu County out of the amount, 287 million will be paid to over 10,000 farmers,” he disclosed when he presided over the issuance of cheques to farmers owed by the dairy processor recently.
He added: “These were farmers who delivered their milk to KCC 20 years ago and they were not paid.”
Ruto reiterated that dairy farming plays a vital role in the growth of the economy since over 1.8 million farmers are involved and that over 1.8 million Kenyans benefit either directly or indirectly.
He said the Government has set aside Sh1bilion for modernization of New KCC facilities where machines worth Sh400 million have been installed in the Eldoret Depot for production of quality milk.
“We want the firm to start production of powder milk which will be sold in DR Congo, Dar-es-salaam and Sudan,” noted the deputy president.
He, however, said the government will deal with the problem of milk price fluctuation to ensure farmers benefit from their sweat.
“We have allocated Sh700 million times for the stabilization of the factory prices. We want to maintain our prices for us to compete with private companies,” said Ruto.”
He reiterated that the government will buy 50 coolers at a cost of Sh10 billion in which under phase one, 25 coolers will be supplied countrywide come May.
New KCC Managing Director, Nixon Sigey said they have increased milk prices to farmers to enable them bring more milk to the firm instead of selling it to middlemen who exploit them.
“We have increased our milk buying prices from the previous Sh38 to Sh43 per litre,” he said. He urged farmers to bring more milk to the depot since what they deliver to the firm was a drop in the ocean.
“At the moment we receive only 100,000 litres of milk per day amid demand of 500,000 litres per day,” added Sigey.