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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Dairy farmers from Muhotetu call for unity in a bid to fight cartels

By Waweru Kanja

Dairy farmers in Muhotetu division of Laikipia West District have been called upon to unite in order to have a voice in the market of their produce.

Speaking at Muhotetu township recently during a dairy farmers meeting, the farmers decried the diminishing prices of milk citing exploitation by milk processors.

Mr. Njoroge Maina, a dairy farmer from Chereta said that farmers were getting meager returns due to the increased cost of production.

“To produce one litre of milk, it costs me ksh. 22 and the milk processors are buying the litre at ksh. 23. This business is not viable” Maina said.

The farmers said all the milk processors have formed a cartel that was dictating prices to them leaving them helpless and exploited for lack of alternative market.

“A litre of fresh milk is going for ksh. 60 at the supermarket which is more than double the price the processors are buying from us” Another farmer Rose Chepkeboi said.

The over 700 farmers agreed to unite and register a cooperative society in order to articulate their needs effectively.

They said the society will give them a voice in the marketing of their produce and minimize cases of exploitation.

The farmers are now appealing to the government, financial institutions and the non-governmental organizations to help them in putting up cottage industries in order to add value to their milk.

They said one packet of 200 mililitres of yoghurt will fetch ksh. 10 more in profit and will uplift their economic standards.

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