Mumias Sugar Company has launched a dairy project for its contracted farmers to help them diversify from over relying on cane farming and improve their livelihoods.
The Farmers' Dairy Project will cost Sh2.4 million for the first nine farmers whose homes will be used as training centres for the rest before being rolled out to other parts of the sugar zone.
It is a partnership between the company, farmers, Kenya Commercial Bank and the Livestock ministry. Managing director Peter Kebati said the project will contribute towards increased sugarcane production "...and creating an extra income for the cane farmers".
Speaking at the launch of the project at Namirama market in Kakamega, Kebati said 500 farmers have been trained in dairy farming management.
He said the company will train 4,000 farmers in the current financial year and put up at least 40 more learning centres to cater for 2,500 farmers.
Kebati added that the cost of putting up a unit is Sh236,000 and involves purchase of the animal, establishment of fodder crops and construction of the units. He said the project is geared towards engaging the sugarcane farmers in activities that enhance livelihoods.
Kebati said the project aims at among other things to improve sugarcane yields by using farm yard manure, create additional income for farmers and creating employment opportunities in the rural homes.
He said project will encourage environmental conservation among farmers through use of bio-gas which is clean energy and create business opportunities Kebati said the company will consider building a milk processing plant once farmers fully embrace the project.
"If there will be sufficient quantities of milk to sustain the factory, we will invest and roll out more projects across the zone as part of engaging more farmers in the dairy project," he said.