A Ksh22 million milk processing factory has been constructed in Kajiado County, giving the much-needed shot in the arm for the semi-arid region’s economy. The Masimba Milk Cooling Plant located in Emali near the border with Makueni county, has stimulated dairy farming in the area with a number of residents from both counties supplying milk.

The milk plant was constructed by the County Government of Kajiado and funded by the New Zealand government through ChildFund Kenya, directly benefitting 2,500 people including farmers, children, lactating and pregnant women. It has also provided employment opportunities for over 5,000 people.

ChildFund Kenya Country Director Chege Ngugi says Masimba factory is equipped with milk processing equipment, milk handling food grade Mazzicans and aluminum cans, cold-storage facility for finished products, backup generator and laboratory.

The milk plant is operated by the Emali Dedicated Children’s Agency (EDCA) under the Ksh100 million Agriculture, Dairy and Economic Development (ADED) project. It was commissioned in 2017 to economically empower vulnerable farming communities in the region.

Another milk cooling plant has also been established at Sultan Hamud under the programme, backed by three milk collection points/centres for milk aggregation. Mr Ngugi said more than 257,000kg of milk have been sold since August 2020, while eight farmers have been supported with improved in-calf heifers for increased milk production.

“ADED intervenes in two major value chains of moringa and dairy because of their immense nutritional benefits to children especially orphans, vulnerable and malnourished children,” Ngugi said during the launch of the milk plant on Tuesday.

The project is a partnership between the Government of New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the county government of Kajiado and local cooperative societies.

Kajiado County Governor Joseph Ole Lenku said dairy farmers had earned Ksh9 million from their deliveries in the last two months and called for continued support of the project.

Speaking via video, the Industry and Innovation manager at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Gareth Smith said the milk project is a good example of climate-smart agriculture aligning with a genuine area of community need.

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Already, two farmers’ cooperative societies – SAMLI Dairy Farmers’ Cooperative Society and EMUKA Moringa Farmers’ Cooperative Society – have been established to oversee the production and marketing of milk and milk products as well as moringa.  “We work with everyone involved in the dairy supply chain especially farmers to ensure that they not only get easy access to markets for their milk but that their animals are free from diseases,” he Ngugi said.

The launch was attended Managing Director Kenya Dairy Board, Margaret Kibogy, CECs, local leaders and ChildFund Kenya staff.

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