President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday opened an ultramodern milk factory in Eldoret that will turn around the fortunes of milk farmers.
The factory, revived by President Kenyatta’s Administration at the cost of Sh500 million, will also ensure there is a constant supply of milk in the country through diversification of products.
The New Kenya Cooperative Creameries factory collapsed in 1999 and has been rundown until the Jubilee Government came into power.
Today, President Kenyatta unveiled the New KCC Ultramodern UHT Production Unit, the biggest and most modern of its kind in East and Central Africa.
The days of milk produced by farmers going to waste will be a thing of the past since the factory has the capacity to convert it into powder and later on reconstitute it to long life milk.
President Kenyatta, who was joined by Deputy President William Ruto, Cabinet Secretaries, Eldoret Governor Jackson Mandago and other local leaders was cheered by farmers as he commissioned the factory and was shown the various products the factory can produce.
He said the days when dairy farmers struggled with what to do with their milk would be history as he urged them to increase and improve the quality of their stock.
“When we came into power, this factory was rundown and was in a lot of debt. We paid off the debt which was more than Sh500 million and we did not stop there but allocated more money to revive factories,” said the President.
He said the Government will continue with its agenda to revive all other seven New KCC factories that were neglected during the previous decades.
President Kenyatta threw barbs at the opposition for engaging in negative talk on his Government’s development track record.
He said the Eldoret New KCC factory collapsed in 1999 and was still rundown until when the Jubilee Government came into power in 2013.
The President said it was perplexing that those who were in government during the past three decades now have the audacity to criticise his Government, which is reviving factories that were the lifeline of millions of Kenyans.
“What did they do to revive this factory for all the years they were in Government. Rivatex was dead all those years, what did they do?” said the President.
He said Rivatex will start operations soon after the Government pumped in millions to revive it.
“We are also reviving Kicomi in Kisumu and Mountex in Central so that our cotton farmers can also get back their economic lifeline,” said the President.
The Head of State said the Government will also zero rate all milk products and also remove import duties on yellow maize used for making animal feeds.
The Deputy President said the Jubilee Government paid off more than 40,000 farmers who were owed in excess of Sh500 million since 1999 but were neglected by previous administrations.
He said the new Eldoret factory is already putting in more money into the pockets of dairy farmers.
“This factory pays farmers Sh5 billion annually as opposed to Sh2 billion it was paying in 2013,” said the DP.
The Deputy President said the Eldoret factory will ensure that supply of milk in the country will remain constant and will thus benefit consumers by stabilising the prices.
The DP also criticised the opposition for being out of touch of reality for claiming that the the price of milk is Sh30 when it is actually Sh43.
The Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Mr Adan Mohamed, said the Eldoret factory is the flagship of New KCC and also holds the distinction of being the biggest and most modern of its kind in East and Central Africa.
The Chairman of New KCC, Matu Wamae, said they have reduced the retail price of milk by more than Sh10 but the price for buying from farmers has remained at Sh43.
Farmers who spoke at the function praised the President for caring about the welfare of farmers.
Ms Mary Rono said the people of the region were grateful for the investment the government has made in New KCC, improvement of roads and establishment of the Sh1 billion Bull Centre in Trans Nzoia.
“We are saying thank you for you have kept your promises and we are seeing the benefits. A tree is known by its fruits and we have seen your fruits and we say thank you,” she said.
The revival of the Eldoret factory is part of the Jubilee Government’s Sh1 billion plan of revamping the New KCC.
After the modernisation program, New KCC is poised to make forays into foreign markets including the Arab world as well as other countries in Africa.