The Milk Tale; Excellence Often Attracts Goodwill
Makueni governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana has been synonymous with what mwananchi has been expecting out of devolution. From commissioning full-fledged working factories to a near ideal Universal Health Coverage (UHC) program, the former university don turned county boss has won himself adoration among many Kenyans. To credit him as due necessitates, he has tried to do a few important projects for his people which will end up benefiting even the neighboring counties.
A few weeks ago, a second dairy plant was opened in Makueni County. A few people had reservations with the plant wondering how a dairy plant was going to be useful to a county ‘assumed’ to be dry. Others were wondering why the governor set up a dairy processing plant again after commissioning another one some time back. Well, let us first get the facts right. This specific plant was a project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with International Livestock and Research Institute (ILRI) and the county government.
Such a collaboration must have come after a serious consideration by the agency especially on such grounds as where the investment could be put to intended use without resource laundering. At this point, the track history of the Makueni county boss must have vindicated him for the implementation of the project at his backyard. And that brings us to the agreement that Excellency may go unnoticed here and now but not forever.
This collaborative milk factory has a processing capacity of 1000 litres of milk per hour. This means that if it operates on full capacity for twenty four hours a day, it will need about twenty four thousand litres of milk a day. This becomes the first opportunity for the dwellers of the county to exploit. Dairy farming will become the next big investment for the easterners especially now that market for their produce is guaranteed and contingent to the fact that the next governor will support this well thought investments. Another factor being that of effective management of the investments.
According to a 2017 research paper by J. A. Odero, the researcher notes that Kenya produces a total of 3.43 billion litres of milk annually from a total of 4.3 million dairy cattle. This industry thus accounts for about 8% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Of this milk production, 56% is from small scale farmers who make up 80% of all dairy farming in the country. It thus means that about 44% is what is produced by the remaining 20% large scale farmers. This then justifies the fact that such a project as this dairy plant will end up impacting more families in an unexpected way. A lot of households.
A 2007 report by the ministry of livestock development indicated that eastern province came in third in terms of the population of dairy animals after rift valley and central provinces respectively . Such an investment is not wrong if this data is anything to go with. First, the area has a relatively high number of daily farmers and is bordered with other regions such as coast and central from which it can attract adequate raw materials. Favorable incentives and good customer relationship could be a good direction to approach the competition from.
Times change and so is the players. In 2008, Brookside was the second largest milk processor after New KCC while Githunguri Dairy Farmers Cooperative came in third. Today, Brookside and its subsidiaries are the largest milk processors enjoying over 55% market share. Ten years ago, Brookside had only had 30% of that same market share. This is to mean that with a proper market and management strategy, this dairy processors from Makueni could build their market niche very well and help transform the region’s economic fortunes.
With a lot of dairy farmers citing inadequate quality feeds and fodder for their animals, the next opportunity presents itself. For those of us who are able to go into feeds manufacturing, it is an area we can exploit and make money from. The county government can go an extra mile and start to produce their own quality subsidized feeds for the dairy farmers. The whole system will end up being self-sustaining.
Other opportunities lie in breeding services and technologies, milking systems, refrigeration for the milk produced before being transported or starting processing. And these will be sustainable if energy is affordable and sustainable, an exploit by the solar energy companies.
So if we want to attract Excellency, we should be excellent ourselves. If you want to be successful, you have to start thinking success and if attracting goodwill as well as investment is your wish, strive to be investible. You’ve got to play your part so that you can show people what you are capable of doing. Only then can you see people getting interested with what you are doing and in you as a person.
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