Brookside pays North Rift dairy farmers Sh2bn

Farmers in North Rift earned Sh2.2 billion from Brookside last year for raw milk deliveries as the Ruiru-based processor kicks off recruitment drive in the region to ward off competition.

The Brookside payout was up 12 per cent what they paid farmers in 2013 and the rise in milk intake in recent years prompted the company to increase its handling capacity at its Eldoret and Kitale bulking stations to 200,000 litres per day.

Brookside has more than 15 raw milk cooling stations in the North Rift, which feed the bulking stations before transportation to Ruiru for processing.

“We are encouraged by the role of farmers’ co-operative societies in the North Rift that have brought their members together to sell their milk in bulk,” said John Gethi, Brookside director of milk procurement, adding that the firm would embark on massive farmer recruitment drive.

Brookside holds a 44 per cent market share in the processed milk sector and the recruitment will help cement this position. This is critical as wealthy investors like the Deepak Kamani and Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote of Nigeria plan to set up dairy plants.

Brookside, which is majority owned by the Kenyatta family, is relying on training and provision of inputs to recruit more farmers.

“We want to train all our 160,000 farmers countrywide on record-keeping so that they are able to tell whether they are breaking even in the dairy undertaking or not,” said Mr Gethi.

The farmers who have signed up with Brookside can also access animal feeds and drugs on credit through appointed agro-vet shops.

Anticipated rise in demand for milk has sparked the interest of new players in the business, setting stage for stiff competition.

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAILY