Dairy co-operatives are set for better times after a leading milk processor announced it would train society officials on corporate governance for the sustainable growth of the sector.
Brookside Dairy, which partners with more than 300 co-operatives in the country, said the training would encompass topics on performance measurement and internal controls to ensure that the societies thrived in an increasingly competitive environment.
“It is in our best interest, as the main market for raw milk from the dairy co-operatives, that the groups adopt sustainable management practices that would encourage members to increase milk production,” said the Brookside director of milk procurement and manufacturing, John Gethi.
The processor has partnered with the Co-operative Bank’s capacity building arm, Co-op Consultancy and Insurance Agency, to train its board members and co-operatives from 27 counties.
The Ministry of Agriculture’s National Dairy Development Policy identifies co-operatives as a key cog in the wheels of the dairy industry.
Its strategy paper notes that through bulking, co-operatives have been able to reduce the cost of milk marketing and enabled dairy farmers to realise higher returns through provision of a reliable and remunerative outlet.
Mr Gethi said yesterday that a pilot training programme undertaken by Brookside and Co-operative Bank last year saw 15 groups benefit from capacity building sessions on values that define well-managed groups such as balancing the interests of the stakeholders, preparation of action plans, institution of internal controls and performance measurement.
“In the sampled dairy groups who benefited from the training, there has been a marked rise in member confidence, demonstrated by increased milk supply volumes from farmers,” he said.
Brookside procures nearly 1.5 million litres of raw milk from farmers every day.
Gethi said the firm was keen to see its partner co-operatives upscale the value of services offered to members, including financial solutions and inputs.
“As a result of our partnership with dairy groups, many of them have grown to become industry giants who have extended their business beyond the primary role of marketing milk for smallholder farmers and ventured into provision of financial services,” ? he said.