President Uhuru Kenyatta Saturday launched the construction of a Ksh 250 million milk cooling plant in Meru County with an assurance that his government will not dither in its efforts to improve the welfare of farmers.
The construction of the New Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) facility with a holding capacity of 100,000 litres in Nyambene will be completed in October this year.
Addressing thousands of Meru residents who turned up to witness the groundbreaking ceremony for the cooling plant, the President advised dairy farmers in the area to take advantage of the facility once its construction is completed to increase their milk production.
“This cooling plant will help dairy farmers to store their milk and sell it to processors at a good price and at their convenience,” he said.
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Unlike other New KCC cooling facilities, the Nyambene plant will, in addition to bulking and chilling, pasteurize the raw milk before it is transported to processing facilities.
The plant will serve dairy farmers from five of the nine sub-counties in Meru County that include Tigania East, Tigania West, Tigania Central, Igembe North and Igembe South which are currently served by smallholder farmers cooperatives and self-help groups that handle a daily average of 50,000 litres.
President Kenyatta said the government will soon construct a milk processing plant in the region to promote value addition that will enable local dairy farmers to supply processed milk to Meru town, Isiolo and Marsabit.
“This plant will also create jobs for the youth in this area. These are the projects that we want to implement to transform the lives of our people,” the President said.
He assured farmers in the region who recently took up large scale production of potatoes that the government will construct a potato cold storage facility in the area.
“This will enable farmers to store their harvest up to six months until they are offered deserving prices for their potatoes,” the President said.
The Meru potato cold storage plant will be one of the three that the government intends to construct by June this year at a cost of Shs 100 million each. The others will be in Olkalou in Nyandarua County whose construction the President commissioned yesterday while the third plant will be set up in Kisii County.
President Kenyatta once again urged leaders to stop politicking at the expense of serving the people of Kenya.
“This is not the time for politics but for working to improve the lives of Kenyans,” he said and emphasized the need for all Kenyans to embrace peace and national unity.
Speaking at the function also attended by Agriculture CS Peter Munya, Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi assured the President that his county will continue working closely with the national government in projects that will benefit farmers and the people of Meru.
On his part, CS Munya assured Kenyans that the government has put in place adequate measures to deal with the desert locust invasion.
The CS lauded President Kenyatta for his commitment to addressing the plight of farmers across the country.
Others who attended the function included Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki, CS Raphael Tuju and a host of local leaders.