KENYA – Dairy farmers from various regions in Kenya have strongly opposed the government’s proposal to privatize state corporations, particularly New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC).

The farmers, represented by spokespersons including Ann Wachira, Lydia Kagema, Miriam Bushati, David Koskei, and Muchemi Nderitu, expressed concerns about the potential negative economic impact and its implications for the country’s food security.

New KCC, a key agricultural agency, has been pivotal in the dairy sector, and farmers argued that privatizing it could have adverse effects. T

hey called on the government to support the process of reverting New KCC to dairy producers, emphasizing that farmers had invested significantly through a capital levy charged on their supplies over the years.

The farmers highlighted that New KCC, fully modernized and with significant assets, should not be privatized.

They urged the government to protect the interests of dairy farmers by ensuring the agency remains farmer-owned.

The proposed acquisition of New KCC by a holding company, Maziwa, is part of broader privatization plans by the government.

Farmers emphasized the strategic importance of New KCC, contributing 7% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and supporting the livelihoods of approximately two million Kenyans directly and indirectly.

The creamery has been crucial as a buyer of last resort during milk gluts, providing support to farmers.

The representatives argued that New KCC’s assets, including land, factories, cooling plants, and even a building in Kampala, Uganda, should be protected for the benefit of the farmers.

They suggested that if the creamery is reverted to farmers, the government could hold some shares to ensure proper supervision and protection of the institution.

The farmers vowed to use all available means to block the privatization of New KCC, emphasizing the historical contributions of farmers to the acquisition of assets through capital levies.

They called on elected leaders to support their cause and urged the government to reconsider privatizing well-performing agricultural bodies.

In a related development, the county government of Kiambu flagged off milk coolers and processing machines worth 25 million Kenyan shillings to dairy cooperatives in the county.

This initiative aims to boost value addition and milk production for dairy farmers in the region. Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi highlighted the importance of maximizing the potential of the dairy sector in the county.

“When I came here, I found that there was already a process that had been started one and a half years before I came to office. But that process, for their own personal gains, because the cousin Zuri, who was more than one and a half years before, was still in school,” he said.

“We are having a concert that we are feeding our cows. And the concert is up to the standard which is expected.”