Kakamega county, firm ink deal to complete stalled milk plant

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa (second-left) at his office with ABF delegation led by Mohammed Mousa. [Benard Lusigi, Standard]

The stalled milk factory in Malava constituency, Kakamega county, is expected to be complete by December after the county inked a deal with an investor.

This is after the county government got a new investor ABF United Company Limited to complete the construction of the milk plant which is expected to create 1,000 jobs.

Construction of the milk processing plant was initiated by former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya as one of his flagship projects in 2019.

Governor Fernandes Barasa during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the management of ABF United Company Limited on Thursday said they have agreed to complete and operationalise the project.

“We have reached a consensus with our investor on modalities of how to complete the project before the year ends so that we can be able to create jobs and support our dairy farmers who have waited for the completion of the project,” said Barasa.

The governor said he also agreed with the company to set up a feed factory to help dairy farmers sustain the operations of the milk plant.

“The company is dealing with livestock and value addition, therefore we have also agreed on the establishment of an animal feeds factory to include beef to the dairy value chain as well as the establishment of an animal rearing centre,” he said.

He said the operationalization of the factory would help milk farmers in the county produce enough milk and meet the huge deficit in the county.

“We need alternative sources of funds to support cooperative development so that the farmers may be supported to deploy modern technology and services to enhance milk production,” said Barasa.

The governor noted that the plant will have the capacity to process up to 50,000 litres of milk per day.

“My administration has invested Sh150 million to acquire land for the construction of a milk processing plant with oxidation ponds to treat wastewater,” he said.

He assured that milk would be absorbed from dairy farmers across the county while guaranteeing them a ready market.

The county produces about Sh119.15 million litres of milk annually.

The ABF delegation led by Mohammed Mousa said they are ready to ensure the project is completed within the stipulated time.

“We want to assure the dairy farmers and people of Kakamega that this project will be completed before the end of this year. We will equip farmers with technology-backed methods in dairy farming and link them to the international market for their products,” he said.

Since its inception, the county has pumped Sh240 million into the smart farm project to increase milk production to 6,000 litres daily to sustain the factory.

According to Chief Officers for Livestock, Veterinary Services and Fisheries Jessica Wesonga, the county has a population of 377,910 cattle, 68 per cent of which were local Zebu breeds and it is currently working on establishing smart dairy farms which will serve as learning centers for farmers and students.

The county currently has a total of 172,876 dairy cows.

The centres are projected to act as milk collection centres for farmers for onward transmission to the Malava milk processing plant once it’s operationalized.

So far, the Kakamega County Dairy Development Corporation (KDDC) produces on average 10,000 litres of milk per month with monthly revenue of about Sh400,000 from the sale of milk and bull calves. 

The county has 24 active milk cooperative societies that are being supported in preparation for the operationalization of the milk plant.

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