Dairy farmers in Samburu are beaming with hope after a new milk processing plant was launched in the county,
Samburu Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society commissioned a milk processing plant worth Sh36 million with a capacity of processing 2,000 litres per hour.
The dairy plant based in Maralal town becomes the first ever milk plant in the county.
It is also the first cooperative in the region to sell its own branded milk dubbed ‘Samburu Fresh Milk’.
“We have now started production of fresh milk. Our farmers will no longer worry about wastage and lack of market,” said Mr. Julius Lalampaa, who is the chairperson of the cooperative.
“Samburu Fresh Milk has already hit the market and we have now joined the league of milk producers. This is historic because we have never witnessed milk being processed here in our region,” he added.
The cooperative society has already made contacts with supermarkets and retail shops to supply them with the milk.
Mr. Lalampaa revealed that the project of setting up a milk processing plant failed to take off in the past due to delayed process of identifying a strategic location.
The project targets to boost to dairy farming in the region which relies on milk supply from the neighbouring counties of Nyandarua and Laikipia.
Milk production in Samburu remains dismal due to challenges related to over-reliance on traditional breeds of cattle.
Dairy farmers in the region are currently producing more than 100,000 litres of milk daily.
Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda asked residents to embrace dairy farming and take advantage of the milk processing plant constructed to improve their incomes.
Lesuuda said farmers in the region should diversify to alternative sources of income to cushion themselves from tough times.
But, the MP warned that the project could run into hurdles if dairy farmers fail to increase milk production to ensure the processing plant has adequate supply of milk as it is now fully operational.
“I urge our farmers to take up this opportunity to supply milk,” she said.
The plant will increase milk processing in the country from 17 million litres of milk annually in the previous years to 18 million litres annually, which is still below the consumption demand of 340 million litres annually.