Workers at a milk processing plant measuring milk received from farmers. Photo courtesy.
Busia and Kericho county governments are planning for Cess tax waivers on produce of the farmers from both counties to enable the producers find market for their produce and bridge deficit gaps of the food which may be falling below demand by residents of either of the areas.
Kericho Governor Prof Paul Chepkwony revealed at an event over the last weekend that his government will enter into a memorandum of understanding with the County Government of Busia for Cess tax waiver on milk and other agricultural products from Kericho and vice versa.
This follows therefore that farmers and traders from Busia wishing to sell their goods in Kericho will be given similar preferential treatment.
“I have already informed my counterpart and Hn. Sospeter Ojaamong on the planned trade partnership with his Busia County which will go a long way in promoting trade between Busia and Kericho which are also members of the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB),” he said.
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Apart from milk, Kericho has comparative advantage in tea leaves and both sweet and English potatoes while Busia can export to Kericho fish, cassava and sugar among other products.
Tax experts say the proposal is good if implemented, adding that the ball is now in the court of technocrats to either come up with a policy or amend tax regulations to accommodate Cess waiver clause.
County Director Livestock David Mukabane said the move to import Milk from Kericho is good as it will help bridge the gap of 32million litres per annum from the total annual consumption of 60 million litres, adding that the county currently imports milk from Uganda and Nandi.
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However, the Director said the County has introduced ambitious programs in the dairy sector that might see the county meet the annual consumption target and export surplus milk.
He said Governor Ojaamong administration has introduced two dairy parks (boarding school for dairy animals) and replacing them with the old system where the County Government purchased dairy cows and gave them to groups to breed.
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Mukabane said the World Bank through the Kenya Devolution Support Programme has allocated Sh22m for the two parks; each park will have 80 dairy animals to be under county livestock and veterinary officers, while farmers will be vested with the task of providing pasture and fodder to the animals at the parks.
“To help cushion against drought, the Director said the county has set aside 8 acres of land at Busia Agricultural Training Centre for planting silage and hay,” he said, adding that plans are in the offing to add more dairy animals through Ward Development Fund in 2020-2021 financial year.