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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Milk politics in Gatundu South constituency

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria has launched a 10-point plan that will transform dairy sector in the area by first using Sh7.5 million from the CDF kitty to clear a loan that dairy farmers owed Coop Bank of Kenya. Residents are reading politics in the entire move moreso after it emerged farmers were not for him during ther by-election that forced Uhuru Kenyatta to prevail his opponent to step down for Kuria to go unopposed.
The Kenyatta family has roots in the constituency. Kuria replaced the late Ngugi Nyumu in a by-election. Professionals and tycoons from the region cried foul in the manner in which Kuria landed the TNA party nomination forcing Ngengi Muigai and Uhuru private secretary to have the president call a meeting at State House to iron out matters upon discovery his candidate would lose.
While launching the plan at Gatundu South CDF office, Kuria said he wanted to ensure that the current crisis facing dairy farmers in the area over liquidity is resolved. In the deal CDF will pay off the current liabilities of over Sh7.5 million owed to Coop Bank during the financial year 2015-2016.
Sources say the loan was acquired by officials of the collapsed Gatundu South Dairy in 2013. According to Gatundu Coop Bank manager Daniel Kimani, Kuria can revive the industry. Documents reveal the 10-points of reference  to resurrect the milk industry involves:-
1. From  March 17 2015, the price to be paid to the farmer will be Sh35 per litre.
2. Improve the payment waiting time. We will have two schemes of payment. Monthly payment farmers will be paid latest 5th day of the next month. However  through fort credits farmers can get weekly payment every Tuesday if they so wish.
3. Will create 38 sub location milk committees who will coordinate  all milk  issues in the sub location. Each sub location milk committee shall compromise of nine members directly elected by the milk farmers in the constituency.
4. Shall have monthly award for the sub location with the highest milk earnings every month.
5.Shall move the headquarters of Gatundu South Dairy to Gatundu town, initially to be based at the CDF office and latest by July 2015 to be relocated to Maisha Kilimo House currently under construction.
6.Have independent management with a chief executive officer, chief finance and administration manager and head of supply chain management to run the society on a day to day basis. Technoserve will be requested to assist with three resources on a interim basis for a period of one year maximum.
7. The current board of management shall focus on oversight and mobilisation and leave the day to day management to the CEO and the management team.
8. Automate the milk collections through an E-dairy system and digital weighing scales to maximise on farmers revenue and enable weekly credit  payments.
9. Install 40 milk collection booths to be constructed through CDF with Brookside providing motor cycle Tuktuks in each booth with support from Agricultural  Finance Corporation.
For now milk farmers sell 35,000 litres of milk and fodder to Githunguri Dairies at a throw away price. The lukewarm Gatundu South Dairy now produces 2,300 litres of milk dairy while a farmers in Githunguri produces 2,500 litres of milk.
Meanwhile, Kenya Dairy Board managing director Machira Gichohi has banned milk hawking in the area. Gichohi said that milk farmers will get maximum benefit since his board had sealed all loopholes from which farmers’ cash was being siphoned by Coop Dairy officials and middle players.
Gachohi said according to a study done by the board and Technoserve from USA it had been established that Gatundu South has a potential of producing milk worth  near Sh1.5 billion a month. This means that the area’s 27,800 homestead will earn an average of Sh53,000 a month.
In the plan according to Gatundu town Coop Bank manager Daniel Kimani, the bank would establish automated agents at the grassroots to hasten payments of farmers’ earning.
Brookside Dairy Company assistant regional manager Kennedy Musakali is also involved in the deal.