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County government initiative to save residents from 80 per cent milk deficit

Dairy cows within their shed. Photo courtecy.

 The county government of Kakamega is embarking on a Sh240m Smart Dairy farms initiative that will see each of its 12 sub-counties benefit a fully developed Smart Dairy farm stations at a cost of Sh20m in a bid to end 80 per cent milk shortage needed by the consumers in the area that the county has been sourcing from the neighbouring Nandi County.

This comes at a time when the country is receiving much rainfall translating to production of pasture grass that has seen dairy farmers increase their milk production.

The facilities which have a capacity to accommodate 25 pedigree dairy cows have so far been established in two stations in Bukura and Matungu sub-counties set to benefit dairy farmers as more awaits to be rolled out.

“Our main target with this project is to change Kakamega County from a net milk importer from other counties to a chief exporter of dairy products going forward,” said Deputy Governor. Prof Philip Kutima.

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Already Sh50m has been introduced in the county’s 2018/2019 financial year budget for putting up a milk processing plant at Tumbeni in Malava sub-county on an eighty-acre piece of land in Malava, according to Kutima.

Last year a Sh34 million milk processor was installed at Bukura Agricultural College by German and Dutch governments.

Richard Wekesa, the college principal, had earlier indicated that the facility, with a capacity to process 10,000 litres of milk daily, would also produce a broad spectrum of dairy products, including yoghurt, cheese and butter.

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The processor is expected to serve farmers from Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga, Busia and Siaya counties.

However, the dairy plant’s processing capacity only depended on the college’s  89 cows forcing it to source more milk from small-scale farmers in the area but this is still not enough especially due to rising demand for value addition.

The county’s One Cow Initiative launched three years ago by Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has seen households receive 600 pedigree dairy cows free of charge. The cows were to be issued out to a selected number of farmers from different wards within the county. Each ward was to receive 10 cows.

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