The cut in milk prices by the dairies is gradually crippling Nyandarua farmers-owned co-operatives and companies yet to fully recover from the effects of collapse of Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) in the late 1980s.
New Ngorika Milk Producers board chairman Ndiritu Ndegwa said unless the trend is contained, there will be no dairy sector to talk about in two to three years.
Dairy farming is the second largest venture for Nyandarua after potato, and the county is the second-highest milk producer in Kenya.
“Farmers are frustrated and demoralised. The only option left for Nyandarua farmer is to benchmark with Githunguri Dairy in Kiambu then go to full value addition. The poor prices are hurting both the farmer and the co-operative movements we have tirelessly worked to revive after the collapse of the KCC,” said Mr Ndegwa.
He added that the drop in milk prices was not justifiable since it does not reflect in the price of a processed packet of milk in supermarkets and other retail outlets.
Ol Kalou Dairy is offering Sh30 per kilo to members, a drop from Sh34.50 at the beginning of July, but the farmers finally pocket Sh29 as one shilling goes to the transporters.
“A drop of about Sh5 in a month is such a huge margin, members plan for the earnings in advance for family developments and improve on their dairy farming activities,” said Ol Kalou Dairy 2016 general manager Mr Kenneth Wachira.
Brookside Company is offering Sh30 and New KCC Sh31 for milk bought from farmers dairy companies with cooler plants, and at between Sh25 and Sh29 from individual farmers.
Mr Wachira said the long-term solution is for farmers to come up with cheaper ways of producing the milk, especially by growing own maize which is a critical raw material in animal feeds making.
But the biggest challenge with the maize fodder growing in Nyandarua is an unfriendly climate.