NYERI, Kenya, Mar 16 – Farmers who supplied milk to the collapsed Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) across the country in the 90’s have a reason to smile after Deputy President William Ruto launched the payment of their dues.
This comes in the wake of last year’s move by the Government to waive the Shs 500million debt owed by the collapsed KCC.
Addressing dairy farmers at the Chaka grounds in Nyeri County on Thursday during the launch of the programme, Mr Ruto said the Government would make sure all dairy farmers who delivered their milk to the collapsed KCC and were not paid received their dues in the next two days.
The Government will pay up to a total of Sh500 million.
Mr Ruto presented a cheque of Shs 59milion for Nyeri cluster and another Shs 100million for Nyahururu cluster in Laikipia County that would see 15,000 dairy farmers paid.
“What we are doing today is the implementation of what we promised last year by waiving the Shs 500million owed by the collapsed KCC to dairy farmers,” said Mr Ruto.
The Deputy President who also addressed dairy farmers in Nyahuru town, Laikipia County, said the move to pay the farmers was aimed at ensuring the new KCC runs smoothly to the benefit of farmers.
“We are now paying the dues owed to the farmers by the collapsed KCC so that the new KCC can continue to promptly pay farmers who supply milk to them,” said Mr Ruto.
“Dairy farmers can now work with KCC without any fear that their produce cannot be paid,” added Mr Ruto.
The Deputy President, at the same time, urged the management of the new KCC to consider increasing prices of milk as a measure to promote and boost the morale of the dairy farmers.
He said there was need for KCC to borrow a leaf from the private milk processors who have increased the prices of the produce by doing the same as a measure to promoting their customers.
“KCC should follow what other private milk processors are doing and stand with their farmers by increasing the prices of milk even if it mean starting this month,” said Mr Ruto amid applause from the farmers.
Present were Cabinet Secretaries Aden Mohammed (Industrialization), Willy Bett (Agriculture), MPs Mutahi Kagwe (Nyeri), Kanini Kega (Kieni), Peter Weru (Mathira), Mary Wamboi (Othaya), Nyeri Governor Amb. Samuel Wamathai and new KCC chairman Mathu Wamae.
The Deputy President said the Government has set aside funds for the expansion and modernization of all KCC factories across the country.
He said the Kiganjo KCC factory would receive Shs 130million for the expansion and modernization of the plant to ensure processing of milk in a cost effective manner.
“The funds will help in the replacement of old machines to pave way for new ones that can process more milk in a cost effective manner,” said Mr Ruto.
He said the dairy sector remains the most profitable venture in the agricultural sector in the country, urging farmers to intensify their dairy activities to produce more milk.
He said by investing heavily in the dairy sector would enable them take advantage of the Government’s commitments to exploring ready in Tanzania, South Sudan, Congo and Central Africa.
The Deputy President urged voters in the region to support the Jubilee Party come the next election saying it was the only one committed to unity and development of all Kenyans.
He warned them against being misled to support Opposition parties, which had no development agenda for them.
“Jubilee has implemented its promises including helping dairy farmers across the country because it has the interest of all Kenyans at heart. This is why you should continue supporting us,” said Mr Ruto.
Mr Mohammed said payment to dairy farmers by the new KCC in the last three years has increased from Shs 2.5billion to Shs 4.5billion.
He said the Government was committed to improving the lives of dairy farmers saying the company’s (new KCC) turnover now stands at Shs 6.5billion and is expected to increase to Shs 12billion in the next financial year.
The MPs thanked the Jubilee Administration for waiving the Shs 500million dairy farmers debt owed by KCC and asked voters in the area to turn in large numbers and support the Government come August elections.
They asked farmers to put into good use the money by investing in viable projects including investing more in the dairy sector that can uplift their lives
Mr Kagwe praised the Jubilee for its commitment to improving the lives of dairy farmers across the country.
“On behalf of farmers in this region, I wish to thank the Government for helping dairy, coffee and tea farmers uplift their lives,” said Mr Kagwe.
Mr Kega said brokers were to blame for poor prices offered to KCC farmers.
“KCC farmers are being frustrated by some few brokers who buy their dairy products particularly milk at low prices,” said Mr Kega.
Mr Bett said the ministry of Agriculture has increased funds allocated to KCC to purchase farmers milk from Shs 300million to Shs 400million this financial year.
Governor Wamathai said the county government will work closely with the national government in the development of the dairy sector in the region.