Sasini Group Team and College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS) team pausing for a photo after the meeting.
From Front Row: Mr. Moses Kiplagat Changwony, Sasini Group Managing Director (Left), Prof. Stephen Kiama, Principal-CAVS (Center), Dr. Catherine Onyango (Rigth). 2nd Row: Dr. Samuel Odalo, Sasini Group Financial Controller (Left) and Prof. John Kimenju, Dean Faculty of Agriculture.
Kenya has one of the world’s most attractive dairy farming environments. It has an ambient climate for dairy farming, access to major sea, air and land transport hubs and its dairy herd is estimated to have a production capacity of 5billion liters of milk per 5.4million cows every year. This figure ranks it as second largest producer in Africa. Sudan is ranked first with approximately 6 billion.
Regardless of this fact, its milk production potential is significantly untapped. The average milk productivity is estimated at 600 liters per cow per year compared to South Africa‘s 3,000 liters per cow and USA‘s 9,000. Low production can be attributed to the presence of low level of integration of dairy value chain activities from production to marketing, leading to significant delays and milk spoilage. Another factor is that the dairy industry’s production is mainly driven by smallholder farmers who contribute approximately 75% of milk production. Averagely, a typical small holder farmer in Kenya has 2-3 cows residing on 2-3 acres of land that is also used for subsistence crop farming and thanks to that, only 13% of milk produced in Kenya is processed.
To save the situation, Sasini Group and the University of Nairobi, through College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS), are planning to collaborate and build an advanced dairy production Unit known as ‘Cow Hotel’. Together, they will also implement a formula that integrates dairy value chain activities from production to marketing. The ultra modern dairy production plant will curb inbreeding, enhance proper feeding habits and foster proper animal management practices; considering that these are major causes of inefficiency in the sector.
Speaking during the meeting, Mr. Moses Kiplangat, Sasini Group Managing Director, pointed out that the collaboration will improve the quality and quantity of milk production considering that the quality and quantity of feeds will be high.
“To increase quality milk supply and benefit from the sector’s anticipated growth; Sasini plans to set up a Cow Hotel, and may eventually put up a milk processing plant. The cow hotel will provide an opportunity for smallholder farmers and other investors to own high quality animals and have them managed professionally and at scale. Sasini will also employ embryo transfer technology to rapidly scale up herd numbers. Milk from the cow hotel would be sold to the local market, and once a processing plant is set up, be considered for export markets”, he added.
His sentiments were supported by Prof. Stephen Kiama, CAVS Principal. He further mentioned that apart from creating an income generating opportunity for the University, the initiative will utilize the large portion of agricultural land that the College owns. Students, lecturers and researchers from the University will also have more research and learning opportunities.
The modern Cow Hotel will make it possible to produce high quality low cost milk that targets the mass market in Kenya. The investors would include small scale farmers and other financial investors. Small scale farmer investor participation would be enabled through facilitated credit. Investors would buy heifers, and receive dividends mainly from milk sales and potentially from sale of calves and mature animals.
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