30 October 2007

Kenya: Report Cites Untapped Milk Potential At Coast

Nairobi — Five of the 12 districts in Coast Province have the potential to produce 56 million litres of milk annually.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Co-operative Development and Marketing, Mr Patrick Khaemba said a task force report had shown that the province had great milk potential.

He said there was great potential in Kwale, Taita, Taveta, Kilifi and Malindi districts.

The Ministry for Co-operative Development and Marketing appointed the task force last December to develop strategies on the revival of the Mariakani milk scheme.

"The revival of the scheme started in 2003 when the Coast Development Authority was mandated by the Government to spearhead the process," said Khaemba.

In a speech read on his behalf by a Depuy secretary in the ministry, Mr Jonathan Soi, the PS said the revival plan would help residents to achieve food sufficiency, create employment and improve farmers' income.

The task force recommended the transformation of the milk scheme into a Cooperative society and renamed Mariakani Dairy co-operative Limited.

The milk scheme was started in 1934 and efforts to revive it began when the Narc Government came to power.

However, a member of the company's board of directors, Mr Kahindi William, took the Government to task for delaying the revival.

"What farmers want is the immediate revival of the plant. There is goodwill from local farmers in the catchment areas that will act as supply chain once the scheme is operational," he said.

Collection centres would be managed by co-operative societies and the Mariakani Dairy Co-operative Limited would only be charged with collecting milk.

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