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Excellent Murang’a dairy project improves living standards

Tuesday November 19 2019

Murang’a County Creameries

From left: Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria, Nigerian governor Simon Lalong and Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony taking a sip of milk at the Murang’a County Creameries in Maragua on November 5, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NDUNG'U GACHANE
By NDUNG'U GACHANE
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A county government-negotiated deal has stabilised milk prices for Murang’a farmers in the past three years.

Farmers are paid Sh35 per litre of milk as opposed to Sh20 in other regions. This has even prompted leaders and farmers from neighbouring counties to visit Murang’a for lessons.

Dairy farmers in 50 societies were brought together to form Murang’a County Creameries. A cooler was then bought for each society.

The devolved unit introduced a collecting system to ensure the milk is transported to the MCC plant in Maragua. The plant can process 20,000 litres of milk per hour.

MCC chairman Maina Kamau said dairy farming has revolutionised the lives of Murang’a people since almost every home has a cow. More households are joining the giant society, he added.

"The poor and the rich are joining MCC. Even civil servants are investing in dairy farming," Mr Kamau said. Before the project, a litre could go for as little as Sh17 and processors could not get milk during the rainy season.

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"We are exploring ways of increasing milk production since there is a ready market. Last month, two companies that have been buying milk from locals stopped but farmers were not affected. Governor Mwangi wa Iria directed that the 30,000 litres be taken to MCC," Mr Kamau said.

Mr Julius Mwaura, a farmer from Gakoigo, is a beneficiary of the project. “I am now able to feed and educate my children through the milk returns. Like civil servants, I also go to the bank to withdraw money,” Mr Mwaura said.

Mr Iria said MCC and contracted processors agreed that milk prices would not drop below Sh35, with only upward adjustments.

He said a lot of investments have been made in the dairy industry and that plans for MCC to produce ghee, cheese and yoghurt are at an advanced stage.

Last week, Mr Iria hosted Nigeria Northern States Governors Forum chairman Simon Lalong at the Maragua plant.

“My administration used Sh500 million to install the coolers so as to have a working supply chain. We then assisted farmers to take their milk to the processor,” he said.

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