A public-private development partnership is launching a $ 12.6 million program to help 30,000 Kenyan farmers increase the quality and improve the quality of the milk they produce in the Rift Valley and the country’s eastern region.
Empowering women and youth to play a more active role in the dairy industry will be another objective of the new Kenya Market-led Dairy Supply Chain Project. The four-year initiative will also promote the use of environmentally friendly production practices.
The project will be implemented by Heifer International, a U.S.-based nonprofit working to end hunger and poverty with sustainable agriculture and entrepreneurship.
“This is a unique opportunity to focus the work of farmer organizations, private sector players and county governments on delivering effective solutions to increase dairy production and productivity and hence household incomes for at least 30,000 smallholder farmers,” said George Odhiambo, country director for Heifer in Kenya.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has contributed US$2.7 million intended to get the program off the ground.
“In order to have a real impact on poverty reduction, one needs flexibility and willingness to try new working methods and partnerships. We believe that development aid should have a catalytic role in getting new innovations off the ground as well as mobilize private capital for development,” said Sandra Diesel, head of Development Cooperation with Kenya.
Also involved is the state-run New Kenya Co-operative Creameries, which sources milk from about 60,000 farmers across Kenya. NKCC will provide US$1 million to the program.
“NKCC’s board, management and milk suppliers are excited by the launch of the market-led dairy supply chain project. The project promises to increase production per cow through an innovative extension approach and rich technical support from the participating partners,” said Dominic Menjo, chief manager of milk procurement and extension services at NKCC.
“The program will lead to increased earning to farmers and also increased supply of quality milk to NKCC factories,” Menjo said. “Success of this project will create employment opportunities for the many unemployed agricultural and dairy graduates, while doubling dairy productivity and improving quality parameters.”
Private sector partner Tetra Laval will contribute technical assistance expertise to the project. The group includes Tetra Pak, a world leader in liquid food processing and packaging, and DeLaval, which develops, manufactures and markets equipment and systems for milk production and animal husbandry.
“We’re very excited to kick off the Kenya Dairy Hub project in collaboration with a committed group of partners,” said Rafael Fábrega, director of Tetra Laval Food for Development.
“Through our Dairy Hub model, we work to build sustainable dairy value chains in partnership and cooperation with our customers, international development agencies, governments, and NGOs all over the world,” Fábrega added. “The Dairy Hub model links smallholder farmers to a dedicated dairy processor, which provides access to market being able to distribute ultra-high temperature milk safely everywhere. Our role is to provide ‘hands-on’ training via practical knowledge transfer to the smallholder farmers.”
The rest of the funding for the program will come from the local farmers and dairy cooperatives.
In the Rift Valley, partners will include the county governments in Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Trans-Nzoia. In the eastern region, the Tharaka Nithi County government will participate.