Boost for farmers as soya milk plant launched
By - RUSHDIE OUDIA | July 9th 2013
By RUSHDIE OUDIA
Kisumu,Kenya:Soya farmers in Western Kenya are set to benefit from a new Sh84million milk processing plant.
The soya milk processing plant launched has the capacity to produce 2,000 litres per day, but the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) Chief Executive Officer, Charles Muturi says this can be increased to more than 10,000 litres.
Speaking at the launch in Kisumu County yesterday, Japanese ambassador, Toshi Hisa Takata said his government also provided technical expertise to ensure that the production is perfected.
Japan, through United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has already trained three engineers, and food scientists and a marketing team.
The Kisumu plant, which was established by the Japan government at KIRDI facilities in Kibos, is the third in Western with the other plants, mostly used to produce soya powder, being at Migori and Bungoma.
The envoy said they are working with the county governments directly to enhance development. “We are going to come up with a proper mechanism in order to work well with the devolved government,” said Takata.
Kenya is currently producing 2,000 tonnes of soya beans per annum yet the country’s demand stands at 150,000 tonnes yearly.
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Despite the country’s ability to produce soya beans, Muturi said there are a lot of exports.
By last year the country was importing more than 50,000 metric tonnes of soya beans. To earn foreign exchange, Muturi called for increased local production.
“The capacity we have can’t hold the growing demand,” said Muturi.
Soya milk is becoming a precious product in the market because of its numerous benefits. Its products are considered rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and they contain flavones considered by dieticians to be useful in prevention of cancer.
Besides these nutrients and health features, soya products have no cholesterol like meat and milk.
They are also relatively cheaper with higher protein content and they contain a lot of fibre rich in calcium and magnesium.
It is also the main component of some processed foods and supplements such as soy meat, soy flour, soy milk, soy oil and confectioneries. “Soya milk is the best when it comes to issues of malnutrition,” said UNIDO representative Mpoko Bokanga.
Bokanga says the milk can also be used as an anti-ageing cream.
Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka said his county has 10,000 hectares that can produce 200,000 bags of the crop every year to reduce the poverty level of his county that stands at 56 per cent. Migori Deputy Governor, Nelson Muita says, however, that the uptake of soya milk is yet to pick up in Nyanza and the country as a whole.
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