Cooperatives, Micro and Small Enterprise Cabinet Secretary (CS) Simon Chelugui has said that the government is doing everything possible to improve dairy farming in the country.
The CS gave a chronology of challenges facing the sector among them being the high cost of feeds and prolonged drought periods.
He said that other myriads of challenges bedevilling the sector include limited access to quality Artificial Insemination (AI) services, limited access to credit, inadequate extension services, low adoption of modern technology and weak governance structures.
Chelugui said that in order to surmount the challenges, the government is supporting cotton growing so that cotton seed cakes can be used as affordable raw materials for making animal feeds.
“It’s unfortunate that we are importing animal feeds and manufacturing raw materials from as far as Zambia, Uganda and Tanzania and yet we have the capacity to grow ours. This trend must change moving forward so that we can reduce the cost of animal feeds and thereby improve dairy farming,” he said.
He spoke at Githunguri stadium in Kiambu county yesterday during the launch of the Githunguri Dairy and Community Sacco Foundation (GDC) and was flanked by his Principal Secretary (PS) Patrick Kilemi, area Member of Parliament (MP) Gathoni Wamuchomba and her Limuru counterpart Kiragu Chege as well as the Sacco chairman Mburu Gitau among others.
The CS said that Githunguri Dairy Cooperative occupies a very important position in the cooperative movement in Kenya as it is a leader in the dairy industry where it is ranked the third largest dairy processor in the country.
“My ministry appreciates the services that Githunguri dairy offers to its members that include collection, value addition and marketing of milk and other assorted dairy products,” he said.
“I am informed that the Cooperative goes an extra mile to extend credit facilities to its members that include veterinary drugs, advances, household goods, and animal feeds. This makes the cooperative a self-sustaining ecosystem that should be replicated in other cooperatives in Kenya.”
Heaping praises on the Githunguri Dairy farmers’ cooperative society, he said that his ministry appreciates the role played by Cooperatives in the dairy sector.
The CS who said that the Githunguri event was his first function since he assumed office noted that 80% of the milk processed in Kenya is by smallholder farmers through cooperatives.
He further said that deliberate actions by the government intended to improve governance in cooperatives have been put in place.
‘The government has already launched the Hustler fund which is expected to provide affordable capital to start-ups including dairy farmers. The funds will be channelled through Saccos such as the one we have launched, ” he said.
At the same time, Chelugui revealed that the reform in the dairy sector is geared to improve the current milk production from 2,000,000 litres per day to 3,000,000 litres per day.
GDC Sacco Society chairman Mburu Gitau said that the entity seeks to strengthen its contribution to the community.
“Our main goals are to alleviate poverty, improve the social and economic welfare of the needy in the society, boost dairy cows breeds and promote education as well as nurture talents among the youth,” the chairman stated.