The largest milk processing firm in Western Kenya, Highland Creamers and Foods has partnered with Barclays Agribusiness Unit to financially empower dairy farmers in the area.
The partnership is aimed at ensuring small scale farmers can access full financial support services inclusive of lending through the bank as well as partnering Saccos so as to increase yield.
Although agriculture accounts for 60% of employment in Kenya, the country faces daunting food security issues. The dairy sector has this year seen a dwindling supply of milk by up to 50% resulting to significant increase in prices and reduced production capacity in many milk processing firms.
Mr Ronald Ajengo, a programme officer with AGRA, one of the implementation partners in this partnership,says: “With Highland Creamers and Foods production capacity at 200,000 litres per day, financial assistance will help farmers invest in better farming practices and other technology to increase yields hence making it possible for the company to achieve optimum production capacity.”
Simon Kinuthia of Barclays Bank Agribusiness says: “Western Kenya provides a great catchment area for agribusiness. We believe that through our investment and the value chain support Highland Creamers and Foods and our implementation partners will provide, we should see sustainable growth in banking and other financial services.”
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“We believe in sustainable business practices. For us to achieve sustainability in the dairy sector it is important for us to invest in the farmer. A lot of the farmers providing milk in the region are subsistent farmers who do not consider formal financial support systems an option to increase their yields. In partnership with Barclays Bank and our implementation partners AGRA, IFAD, Nyamira Tea Sacco and Fineline, we should see the supply of milk in this area rising regardless of the annual threats of drought which significantly impacts the dairy sector,” said Mr Nelson Bichenga, Chairman and owner of Highland Creamers and Foods.
Highland Creamers and Foods is currently processing Fresh milk and Long life ESL milk under the FARMILY MILK brand for the market and will be launching high value dairy product such as cream, yogurt, fermented milk, butter and cheese by the end of this year.