The volumes and quality of milk has improved as dairy processors increase extension services, conduct field days and use demonstration farms to showcase best practice in the dairy enterprise.
Brookside Dairy General Manager for Milk Procurement, Emmanuel Kabaki, says the processor has been conducting an aggressive farmer empowerment programme to boost production.
The processor has released Kshs 182 million in reward bonuses to farmers for milk delivered between June and November this year. This is after the processor mid this year, paid Kshs 138 million in bonuses to its 160,000 farmers. This brings to Kshs 323 million the total bonus pay by the processor to dairy farmers.
The latest payout, under a reward scheme operated by the firm, will benefit dairy groups and individual farmers across the country who signed up for the programme and have been supplying raw milk to Brookside during the contract period.
Brookside Dairy pioneered the farmer reward scheme five years ago to appreciate the critical role raw milk suppliers play in the upstream phase of the dairy value chain.
Kabaki said the farmers were rewarded for meeting agreed milk supply targets in both quantity and quality.
“The farmer groups and individual suppliers who benefitted are those who signed up for our reward scheme and were given raw milk supply targets, for both quantity and quality. We are rewarding these farmers as a recognition of their toil in meeting these targets,” Kabaki said in a statement.
The farmer reward scheme was pioneered by Brookside five years ago as it sought to appreciate the critical role raw milk suppliers play in the upstream phase of the dairy value chain.
The payout has been appreciating over the years, as the processor’s base of contracted farmers continues to grow.
“The reward is a demonstration of our excellent working relationship with all our 160,000 raw milk suppliers across the country. It has boosted the supply of high-quality milk, thus enabling us to tap into a larger share of high-value products,” said Kabaki.
The growth in milk volumes is also attributed to an aggressive farmer empowerment programme by the processor. This year alone, Brookside spent over Kshs 30 million in farmer extension services, as it sought to consolidate its market leadership position in Kenya’s dairy market, according to Kabaki.
Nearly 35,000 dairy farmers have benefited from Brookside’s extension services, which include field day trainings and the use of demonstration farms to showcase best practice in the dairy enterprise.
The processor has also been working with farmers in establishment of fodder for dairy cows, besides working on breed genetic improvement through support with semen straws.
It has also been engaging farmers in afforestation initiatives, to ensure sustainable dairy production through increased tree cover.
Brookside Dairy has also been working to improve corporate governance ethos in its milk supply groups, by training dairy co-operative officials on best management practices.
“The attribute of quality, for which our dairy products are known, cannot be achieved without the involvement of our farmers in the production and supply of quality raw milk,” Kabaki said.
He called on farmers to prioritise initiatives that encourage growth of milk production, such as investment in year-long availability of fodder and water for dairy animals.