In a move meant to diversify its revenue streams and weather growing competition in the sugar industry, Sugar company Mumias Company Limited is planning to delve into the milk industry with plans to launch a milk processing plant at an advanced stage.
And to grow critical mass, the company is distributing cows to over 100,000 farmers in the area who it hopes will assist it in supplying over 50,000 litres daily to the processing plant.
The move has come as welcome news to farmers in the area grappling with poor pay for their sugarcane, emerging pests and diseases that have threatened their only source of livelihood and dwindling yields from the over tired soils.
“Livestock keeping hasnt been fully entrenched in the area, and I feel what Mumias is doing is a good idea, especially guaranteeing us markets for the milk, because market is our biggest problem in the area,”said Adam Murumba one of the farmers set to receive cows from the company.
While details of the roll out havent been completely known, the company says it approximates that the cost of putting up a unit for each farmer will total to about Sh236,000 which will include purchase of a cow, establishment of fodder crops and construction of the units. Already the company has identified nine farmers it will use in its first phase at a tune of Sh2.4 million.
This has been hailed as a sure way of integrated farming where the farmers will rely on cane nappier as fodder for the cow while relying on manure from the cows as improve cane yields. “Western has long suffered the wrath of tired soils due to over reliance on conventional pesticides. The effect has been dismal yields over years. The use of animal manure, which hasnt been fully embraced here, means that the farmers can now reverse soil infertility at a cheaper cost,”said Malaki Namisi a scientist in the area.
According to Mumias, a Sugarcane-Dairy Farmer Field Schools will also be established alongside setting up a model dairy farm at Booker Academy for training purposes in order to sustain the project. Already over 500 farmers have been trained with an additional 4,000 targeted before end of financial year.
Written by Dominic Wandati for African Laughter