President Uhuru Kenyatta unveils a plaque before commissioning a new production line at the New KCC factory in Eldoret. [Peter Ochieng, Standard].
Dairy farmers in the North Rift are poised for better fortunes after the commissioning of a new milk production line at New KCC factory in Eldoret.
President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Sh400 million unit on Monday, which is expected to increase the company’s milk processing capacity by 200,000 litres daily.
New KCC plans to process ultra-heat treated (UHT) and powder milk on the line and increase its raw milk uptake from farmers in the region.
The revival of the Eldoret factory is part of the Jubilee Government’s Sh1 billion plan of revamping New KCC.
“When we came into power, this factory was rundown and was in a lot of debt. We paid off the debt which was more than Sh500 million and we did not stop there but allocated more money to revive collapsed factories,” said Uhuru.
“The days of milk produced by farmers going to waste will be a thing of the past since the factory has the capacity to convert it into powder and later on reconstitute it to long-life milk,” he said.
The President said the Government will revive all the company’s factories that were neglected for decades.
After the modernisation programme, New KCC is set to make forays into foreign markets including the Arab world.
Farmers in the North Rift are among the highest producers of milk in the country, but the collapse of the Eldoret factory in 1999 starved them of a market for their produce.
At the time, New KCC owed farmers more than Sh500 million for milk deliveries and brokers had a field day buying the commodity at a throw-away prices.
Almost 20 years later, farmers are now reaping big after the Government revived the company by paying the outstanding debts, installing new equipment and management as well as stabilising prices.
The Government announced that farmers will be paid Sh43 per litre of milk delivered. About 80,000 farmers are now delivering milk to New-KCC, up from 50,000 a few years ago.
Mary Rono, one of the dairy farmers in the region, said they are grateful for the investment the Government had made in New KCC, improvement of roads and establishment of the Sh1 billion Bull Centre in Trans Nzoia.
Philip Bitok, another farmer, said the upgrade will enable the New KCC plant to process more volumes, hence increase uptake from farmers.