Dairy farmers in Nyeri County seem to have embraced the importance of dairy cooperative societies as the very central to sustainable development which has empowered the communities especially in the rural areas where agriculture is the main stay.
Since the introduction of devolution the number of the farmers’ cooperatives in the county has been increasing to the current 25 with an active membership of between 165 and 3,000 collecting up to 13,000 litres of milk daily and 27,300 litres to 53,000 litres per month per cooperative.
The cooperatives are spread out in all sub counties: Kieni East leads with 8 followed by Kieni West 7, Tetu 4, Mukurewini 2, Othaya 1, Mathīŕa 2 and Nyeri Central 1. Where the farmers are able to use their bulk milk volumes and the institutional set-ups to negotiate better prices for their milk.
The County Government of Nyeri in a bid to strengthen cooperatives and societies across the County, has in the recent past organized a training forum at Deaden Kimathi University for all their leaders to equip them with the requisite skills required to run these cooperatives successfully.
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Some of these cooperatives include Gataragwa Farmers Cooperative Society, Lamuria Farmers Cooperative Society, Endarasha Farmers’ Cooperative Society, Ngukurani Farmers’ Cooperative Society Mathaita Farmers’ Cooperative Society, Island Farmers’ Cooperative Society, Waraza Farmers’ Cooperative Society, Lusoi Farmers’ Cooperative Society and Nairutia Dairy Cooperative Society among others.
The dairy farmers have relied more heavily upon the cooperative societies to market their milk than have farmers of any other commodity.
Farmers who are members of these cooperatives also produce other commodities such as potatoes, onions, vegetables such as cabbages among others.