By Zablon Oyugi
Farmers from the Githunguri Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society are poised to seize international market opportunities as Fresha, a leading milk product processor, sets its sights on exporting approximately 250,000 litres per month to Oman, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.
George Kinuthia, the chairman of the cooperative, announced the dispatch of 113,750 litres of UHT milk, with expectations of increasing exports as market conditions improve.
“Amid a global milk shortage, we are proud to leverage our position as one of Kenya’s largest milk processors to tap into international markets and uplift our farmers’ economic well-being,” Kinuthia said during the society’s recent annual general meeting held at Githunguri Stadium last month.
The cooperative has also unveiled its plans to expand milk exports and is actively identifying additional potential markets.
Highlighting the competitiveness of Kenyan milk on the global stage, Kinuthia stressed the need for government and stakeholders to lead the way in bolstering dairy exports. Such efforts will enhance production and nutritional standards.
The organisation reported a rise in total revenue for the past fiscal year, surging from Ksh9.2 billion to Ksh9.9 billion. However, there was a decrease in the pre-tax surplus, which fell from Ksh435 million to Ksh228 million.
As of June 30th, 2023, the annual report revealed that the society’s net asset position stood at Ksh3.14 billion, compared to Ksh2.95 billion the previous year.
“The society’s share capital increased during the year, rising from Ksh589.1 million to Ksh607.9 million. The annual dividend paid to members saw a slight reduction, decreasing from Ksh158.2 million to Ksh175.4 million. Farmers now receive a rate of Ksh1.80 per share, compared to the previous year’s Ksh2.00 per share. This adjustment was necessitated by the rising cost of living, impacting the cost of doing business,” said the chairman.
Farmers’ payment rates
Kinuthia attributed the reduced payment rates for farmers to the high cost of production, primarily due to the significant increase in fuel prices in recent years. He noted that the society now allocates double the funds to production.
“Despite the challenges posed by high production costs, we have managed to increase the purchasing price per litre of milk from our farmers, from Ksh45 to Ksh49. This adjustment acknowledges the rising animal feed costs faced by farmers,” Kinuthia added.
The society also reported a slight increase in membership this year, with 27,607 members compared to 27,113 in the previous year. This surge in membership has had a positive impact on milk collection, which has risen from 236,000 litres per day last year to 265,000 litres per day.