Murang’a Dairy Farmers Support Milk Processing Factory

ByElijah Ludenyi

Sep 10, 2023
Murang’a Dairy Farmers Support Milk Processing Factory

Last updated on March 2nd, 2024 at 05:51 pm

In summary:

  • Dairy farmers in Murang’a welcome the transfer of a milk factory’s management to the Murang’a Cooperative Creameries Union (MCCU).
  • The factory was closed due to accrued pending bills, operating at a loss.
  • The county government cites MCCU’s ownership by Murang’a milk farmers and its stability as reasons for the transfer.

The majority of dairy farmers in Murang’a have greeted with optimism the decision made by the county government to hand over the management of a milk factory to the Murang’a Cooperative Creameries Union (MCCU).

This development follows a series of public participation forums held in various regions on Friday, where farmers expressed their hopes that MCCU would effectively revive the facility, which had been shuttered since mid-last year.

The milk factory, located in Maragua, was originally established during the tenure of former Governor Mwangi wa Iria in 2017.

It boasted the capacity to process significant quantities of milk daily. However, under the administration of Irungu Kang’ata, the factory faced closure due to the accumulation of unpaid bills, rendering it financially unsustainable.

Outstanding debts, including those owed to transporters, dairy farmers, and suppliers, had reached approximately Sh. 400 million by 2019.

On August 9 of the current year, the county executive convened a meeting to devise a plan for the factory’s revival, resolving to transfer its management to MCCU.

The primary rationale behind this decision was the factory’s initial ownership by the county government, making MCCU an ideal candidate for its management since it is wholly owned by Murang’a milk farmers.

During the public participation sessions, Kimani Mugo, the county executive member for Cooperatives and Trade, emphasized that MCCU was financially stable and separate from the county government.

He highlighted the union’s impressive membership, boasting over 10,000 dairy farmers, making it the largest milk aggregator in the county.

Mugo revealed that the county government had allocated Sh. 40 million for the factory’s revival, emphasizing that the facility’s assets outweighed its liabilities.

He expressed optimism about the factory’s successful revival, believing it would significantly increase dairy farmers’ income through value addition to their milk.

This development would be particularly beneficial to farmers who already receive subsidies for milk delivered to their cooperative societies.

At the start of the year, Kang’ata’s administration introduced a Sh. 3.5 fee for every liter of milk delivered to dairy cooperative societies registered by the county government.

Mugo urged farmers to register with these cooperatives, asserting that it was the only way for them to benefit from the subsidy program.

James Karanja, the Kamahuha MCA and chairperson of the county assembly’s committee for trade and cooperatives, commended the decision to entrust the factory’s management to MCCU.

He noted that Murang’a currently had approximately 4,400 active dairy farmers, and with the factory’s revival, these farmers would be ready to market their milk.

He also mentioned that the county assembly had approved a Sh. 40 million budget allocation for the factory’s revival, which he believed would significantly boost dairy farming in the county.

Fredrick Njuguna, Chairman of the Kamahuha Dairy Cooperative Society, assured that farmers possessed the necessary capacity to effectively run the factory.

Njuguna emphasized that the primary obstacle to the factory’s smooth operation was the availability of an adequate milk supply. He urged farmers to invest further in the dairy sector to ensure that the factory received the required quantity of milk for processing.

The public participation forums took place in Murang’a town and Kariguini in Murang’a south sub-county.