Ruto to preside over Meru Dairy Cooperative Farmers Field Day tomorrow

President William Ruto will preside over the eighth annual Meru Dairy Cooperative Union Farmers Field Day tomorrow at Gitooro showground, Meru county.

The event, which has been organized by the country’s second biggest milk processor, will also be graced by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, 30,000 dairy farmers , experts, service providers, manufacturers and institutions offering various technologies and skills in the dairy sub sector.

Meru Dairy Cooperative Union CEO Kenneth Gitonga said farmers will exhibit the 100 cows that produce the highest quantity of milk.

“Some of the cows produce up to 50 litres of milk daily,” he said, adding further that they’ll ask for the president’s intervention on the high cost of animal feeds and sexed semen which are barring them from increasing their milk production.

“Most farmers can’t afford quality feed hence their cows only produce 5 litres of milk daily,” he said, further explaining that sexed semen, which is needed to improve breeds, costs up to Ksh8 000 per dose, a price too high for many farmers.

He noted that the biggest challenge the milk processor has is sustainable supply of milk.

“We are currently processing more than 300,000 litres in a day but the supply fluctuates based on feed prices. Our target is to raise production to 1 million litres daily to tap into the African market. This is why we are appealing to the government to address the high prices of feeds,”  said Gitonga.

He revealed that the cooperative is in the process of establishing an animal feed factory, further urging the

 He also urged the government to establish a milk prices stabilization fund so that dairy farmers can avoid losses when there is high production of milk.

According to the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB), consumption of processed milk has been on a sharp decline since January due to high prices pushed by high cost of production and the recent prolonged drought.

Consumption dropped from 62 million litres in January to 52 million in March.

The amount of processed milk consumed in the country accounts for 40 percent while the informal sector takes up the bigger chunk of the market.

By John Majau

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