The county government of Murang’a has started the process of handing over management of a milk processing plant to farmers allied to the county cooperative creameries.
This comes at a time when some cooperative societies which deliver their milk to the factory opted to sell their milk to brokers.
Five cooperatives societies which are part of the county creameries in the recent past opted to sell their milk to brokers, negatively affecting operations of the factory.
The county administration has been managing the facility on behalf of member farmers for the last four years.
The county executive member for cooperatives Mr. Paul Macharia has said they are in the final process to hand over management of the facility to members.
He noted that the county government installed the factory which has the capacity to process 250, 000 litres of milk per day and currently the devolved administration is establishing an animal feed factory.
Macharia said the allied farmers now have experience to run the facility and ensure they accrue more returns from their milk.
Recently, governor Mwangi wa Iria announced an increase of milk price from Sh35 to Sh40 per litre.
The new prices came at a time when some farmers decided to sell their milk to brokers who were offering better prices.
Macharia warned farmers against falling to tricks of brokers who are now offering better prices saying the aim of the middlemen is to see the failure of the factory and then revert to exploiting farmers as they used to do.
“I appeal to farmers allied to this factory to remain firm and protect their processing plant. Brokers now are enticing you with high prices which they cannot sustain. Currently there is a milk shortage occasioned by the dry season,” explained Macharia when he led officials of various cooperative societies to tour the facility on Friday.
Before the county government got involved in the dairy sector, the County Executive recalled that those local farmers used to be exploited by brokers who used to buy a litre of milk at no more than Sh15.
“With the establishment of Murang’a county cooperative creameries, milk prices shot to Sh35 and now a litre is going for more than Sh40. I want to tell cooperative societies which have opted to sell their milk to brokers to avoid being cheated and continue delivering their milk to our factory,” he added.
The Murang’a cooperative creameries union is made up of 38 cooperative societies. Each society benefited with a milk cooler courtesy of the county government.
Societies which have started to sell their milk to brokers include, Kangari, Kigoro, New Nginda, Kahuro and Kiarutara.
The five cooperatives, Macharia said, decided to deliver their milk to other buyers without engaging the county cooperative union.
“We condemn the leadership of the five cooperatives because they are giving brokers an opportunity to disfranchise the milk prices,” he added.
A dairy farmer allied to Makombio cooperative society Joseph Gaitungu lauded the factory for improving welfare of local dairy farmers.
The factory, Gaitungu said, covered them from exploitation of brokers who used to buy their milk at meager prices.
“We are happy that the county government has stabilized milk prices and we want the societies which want to pull out to come back and deliver their milk to this plant,” he added.
Another farmer Margret Irungu lauded the move to increase milk price to more than Sh40 saying the new price has motivated dairy farmers.
“We are also happy that the construction of an animal feed factory will help the cost of production,” she added.