Farmers pin hopes on milk factory in Kilifi - Daily Nation

Farmers pin hopes on milk factory in Kilifi

Monday October 13 2014

A worker at Brookside Dairy plant in Ruiru. A dairy plant has been constructed at Mtepeni, Kilifi County, raising the hopes of upto 20,000 farmers who have had no market for their milk. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A worker at Brookside Dairy plant in Ruiru. A dairy plant has been constructed at Mtepeni, Kilifi County, raising the hopes of upto 20,000 farmers who have had no market for their milk. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MATHIAS RINGA
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A dairy plant has been constructed at Mtepeni, Kilifi County, raising the hopes of upto 20,000 farmers who have had no market for their milk.

Producers from Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta lost a ready market when the Mariakani dairy plant collapsed in 1978 due to mismanagement.

Before its closure, the factory used to process 40,000 litres of milk a day.

However, the recent establishment of Pwani Fresh milk processing factory by Kenyan investors has revived hope for dairy farmers in the county. It will be officially opened on Friday.

Pwani Fresh’s managing director Benjamin Kisee said the dairy firm started processing more than 10,000 litres of milk a day in August, creating a ready market for farmers.

“We buy raw milk from farmers at prices of between Sh35 and Sh42 a litre compared to middlemen prices of Sh28 a litre,” he said.

“We have established milk collection centres in Kilifi and Taita Taveta counties for farmers to deliver produce.”

INADEQUATE FUNDS
Pwani Fresh chairman Maina Njanga said the dairy plant, “which is one of a kind”, would partner with farmers from the region.

In 2010, the Coast Development Authority revived the Mariakani dairy plant, with initial processing of 900 litres of milk a day.

The parastatal had pledged to fund the expansion of the factory at a cost of Sh100 million in an effort to increase production to 50,000 litres a day.

However, as a result of inadequate financial support, the dairy plant collapsed again the following year.

Kilifi Agriculture and Livestock executive Mwalimu Menza on Monday said the county and Kwale planned to revive the moribund Mariakani Dairy plant next year.

Mr Menza said they would fund the project at a cost of Sh30 million. The factory is set to be operational by June.

“The collapse of Mariakani Dairy plant shattered the livelihoods of farmers in Kilifi and Kwale counties crippling the sector,” he said.