In a bid to improve the income of dairy farmers and contribute to sector growth, the government has called upon dairy farmers to form cooperatives in order to benefit from larger market access and improved income.

Simon Chelugui, the Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives and Micro and Small Enterprise Development, emphasized that the lack of proper structures has delayed the government’s efforts to support farmers. By joining the cooperative movement, small agricultural producers can access a wide range of services, including improved access to markets, natural resources, information, communication technologies, credit, training, and warehouses.

Chelugui highlighted the government’s commitment to supporting cooperatives, stating, “State initiatives through the Kenya Industrial Estates (KIE), Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) and Uwezo Fund among others support cooperatives formed by women and youth groups with start-ups and micro businesses will broaden their opportunities and boost their competitiveness that will eventually generate jobs, increase incomes and productivity.”

Moreover, well-managed cooperatives have the capacity to address weak market frameworks, shortage of agricultural extension services, and unavailability of certified seeds and expansion of storage facilities to mitigate post-harvest losses.

According to Chelugui, “Co-operatives form a key cog that turns the wheels of the dairy industry in Kenya. Through bulking, co-operatives have been able to reduce the cost of milk marketing and enabled farmers to realize higher returns through provision of a reliable and remunerative outlet for milk.”

The Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) is also aligning with this vision, planning to utilize a cooperative model to eliminate brokers and milk transporters in the dairy sector, allowing farmers to invest in dairy infrastructure and engage directly with processors.

The government aims to increase milk production from 4.6 billion to 10 billion liters annually, considering dairy’s contribution to 5% of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This move is expected to have a significant impact on the dairy sector, providing a boost to farmers and contributing to the country’s economic growth.