By Kamundia Muriithi
Three dairy cooperative societies in Kirinyaga County are set to expand their milk processing and value addition capacities after qualifying for a Sh27.5 million grant from the county government.
The grant is part of the Sh58.5 million that the Kirinyaga County Government has set aside to support dairy farmers this financial year.
Governor Anne Waiguru said part of the money would fund the installation of semi-automated yoghurt production unit for Rung’eto and Kirima Dairy Farmers Cooperative Societies.
The rest will finance the installation of a 150KV power backup generator and housing for Poultry, Dairy and Goats Cooperative Society (PODAGO) Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society.
A10,000 litre milk hauler for Rung’eto Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society will also be procured.
“The yoghurt production equipment will have the capacity of processing about 500 litres daily, which will go a long way in ensuring that farmers add value to their milk for better returns,” said Waiguru at her office in Kutus town.
She added that the power generator would ensure seamless operations for the beneficiaries during power blackouts, while the milk hauler will enhance efficiency in the transportation of milk.
Kirima Dairy Cooperative Society Manager Beth Kariuki said they will upscale their yoghurt production to commercial levels once they get the production unit,.
Currently, the society has a manual yoghurt production equipment that can only produce a maximum of 100 litres per day.
The equipment will also enable them add value to their milk, which will in turn translate to better earnings for the farmers.
“Improved returns will act as an incentive to farmers to rear more dairy cattle to increase milk production and their income,” she said.
Waiguru informed farmers that the county would also support farmers buy a milk tanker and boost Artificial Insemination (AI) services.
They have also helped farmers through partnership between the County Government and the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP) project.
The project has given Sh31 million to 62 dairy farmers groups for the improvement of dairy cattle breeds through artificial insemination, on-farm feed formation and silage making.
She said the project will impact about 1550 households, as cattle breeds improvement is done with the Kenya Animal Genetic Resources Center (KAGRC) to enhance milk production and ensure that dairy cattle have a stronger immune system.
1 Podago Dairy Cooperative Society that is one of the beneficiaries of Kirinyaga County Government support. The society that earlier benefitted from a milk cooler above is set to get a 150KV power generator.
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru holds a tray of eggs while visiting a poultry group supported by the county government.