Narok County dairy farmers would from September this year be selling milk to their first processing plant, whose construction started on Friday last week.
Namelok Dairies, which is expected to guzzle up to 200,000 litres of milk per day, has been set on a five-acre piece of land at Motonyi, in Narok South and will process chocolate bars, ice cream, yoghurt, ghee, butter, in addition to processing fresh milk.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony, Governor Samuel Tunai asked farmers to adopt modern practices to maximise yields for the plant, whose first phase would cost Sh150 million.
He pledged that the county will support them in achieving high results.
“The county government would subsidise the pedigree animals from the Kenya Animal genetic Resource Centre. A team of 28 insemination officers has been constituted in every ward to spearhead the campaign,” Tunai said.
Directors of Namelok Dairies, who are Kenyans, committed to be giving back to farmers at least 20 per cent of the dairy profits through cooperatives and farmers groups.
This is the first project out of an investors' summit held in the county in December, roping in investments worth 28billion.
Poor road networks perennially compounds marketing woes countrywide, more so when it rains heavily, leading to losses before the products reach processors.
While asking the investor to give locals a priority in employment opportunities, Governor Tunoi promised to do his best in improving agriculture-supporting infrastructure, like roads.
In 2014, the county announced plans to spend KSh100 million in importing semen from Israel for free distribution to farmers to boost the local breed for milk, meat and other cattle products.
The dairy market offers higher prices per liter to farmers who deliver more milk. For instance in June, farmers who supplied between 1-100kgs of milk to Brookside earned KSh33 per kilogramme while those with 101-5,000 earned KSh38 per kilogramme.
Being the only milk processing factory in the county, it is set to benefit residents of the the region most of whom are pastoralist.
Meanwhile, State owned New Kenya Cooperative Creameries has set a side KSh600 million for facelifting of two of its factories.
Managing Director Nixon Sigei said KSh200 million will be spent to renovate Bomet County's Sotik factory while Sh400 million will be used to install new equipment in Uasin Gishu County's Eldoret branch.
The move is to enable the factories efficiently handle milk, which he said has increased as a result of farmers embracing modern farming technologies.