Dairy farmers in the North Rift earned Sh2.3 billion from raw milk sales to Brookside Dairy last year. This signals growing fortunes for the dairy value chain in a region more known for maize production.
The payout reflected a 6 per cent growth over earnings in 2016, with Brookside attributing the rise to more farmers adopting the dairy enterprise.
Brookside has set up raw milk bulking stations in Eldoret and Kitale, besides supporting local dairy farmers groups to put up cooling centres in Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia and West Pokot counties.
New KCCC and Daima are also major players in the North Rift, thus intensifying the fight for control of the raw milk market in the area. Last year, New KCC completed an upgrade of its Eldoret UHT factory, as it seeks to expand its footprint in the region.
John Gethi, Brookside’s milk procurement director, said guaranteed payment for raw milk delivered to the firm had seen a rise in the number of dairy groups and individual farmers signing up with the processor.
“After we increased our farm-gate prices by 42 per cent to Sh 37 earlier this month, the number of groups signing up with us in the North Rift has significantly increased,” Mr Gethi said during a tour of Brookside’s milk collection infrastructure in the region.
All contract volumes
He said the firm had upgraded its milk cooling and processing plants to ensure that there was zero down-time in its production plans.
Industry regulator Kenya Dairy Board says milk production has risen by 25 per cent due to the current rains being experienced in the country. However, Brookside assured farmers that it will continue buying all contract volumes in spite of increased production from the rains.
“All our 300 dairy groups and 160,000 farmers across the country have been put on milk supply contracts, which assure them that we shall procure 100 per cent of volumes as stated in the contract document,” Gethi said. He called on farmers to redouble their efforts to produce more milk through investment in better quality dairy cows.