Umande TPA Update

Negotiations with County and National Government departments: Cooler plant and land for construction of Cooler House

There were a series of community mobilization meetings as well as round table meetings with both County and National Governments departments where construction of a cooler house and provision of milk cooler were discussed. The national government (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, directorate of Agriculture) through the county department of cooperatives promised to provide a 3,000 litres milk cooler to the Umande Cooperative Society. The county government through the area Member of County Assembly (MCA) committed to donate a land where the cooler house would be constructed which would also serve as the offices for the cooperative society. Subsequently, the county government of Laikipia donated 0.5 acre piece of land at Karachi public ground (approximately 5km from Nanyuki-Meru Highway) where the cooler house would be constructed as well other facilities such as yoghurt processing unit, agrochemicals shop, and feeds making and storage units.

Negotiations with the Cooperative Society on partitioning of roles and responsibilities in the construction process:

Modalities of engagement including society’s contribution in terms of labour and materials as well as supervision of the construction process. There was a series of consultative meetings with the members of the Umande cooperative society to agree on how to proceed with the construction work and the contributions by various parties.

Figure 5: One of the consultative meeting with Cooperative members and area MCA on the construction of the cooler house

In summary, the outcome of community mobilization meetings were i) commitment by the cooperative members to provide various construction materials and unskilled labour such as digging/scoping the trenches; ii) commitment to supply hard core, ballast, day-to-day supervision of the construction work as well as unskilled labour; and iii) CETRAD to finance the skilled labour and purchase other materials that were required for the construction of the cooler house. As a result of these negotiations, all the construction materials promised by the SACCO were delivered on time and the construction works supervised promptly.

Construction of Cooler House

After community mobilization and awareness creation meetings, the cooler house was constructed and completed albeit few finishing. The cooler house comprises of the main operation compartment for the cooler machine, a store, laboratory and power house (housing standby generator). The cooler machine was also delivered and successfully installed and tested. It will be functional in the next few months.

Figure 6: Cooperative members digging trenches for the foundation (left) and ongoing slabbing (right) during construction phase

Figure 7: Near complete cooler house (fixing of doors and windows remaining and installed cooler facility


This TPA aims at building the capacity of the cooperative members in order to boost their milk production and to create market links for sustainable livelihoods. The Umande Dairy Cooperative Society Limited was started in 2016 and has 188 registered members who are dairy farmers in Umande Location but only 90 members were supplying milk at the time. The dairy milk collection is 500 litres during rainy season and 200 – 300 litres during the dry season. Average daily supply is 2 litres per farmer during dry season and 5 litres in wet season. The cooperative sells milk to Sirimon cheese who consumes the total milk supplied however in case of higher supply, which really occur, the farmers may look for market for extra production. This implies that the cooperative lacks a sustainable market for their milk and therefore market links are needed. The milk supply is also low given that the area is sub humid (750 mm per year – CETRAD Databases) and that most farmers have small pieces of land (an average of 3 acres) which is used for subsistence farming. When the rains delay or are insufficient, the area suffers drought which affects milk production. Farmers usually employ conventional animal husbandry practices which lack innovativeness and application of technologies hence low milk production and as a result low income generation. There is therefore need for improvement in dairy farming for improved milk production and subsequent maximized returns. This TPA bridges this gap which is implemented through eight distinct activities namely: Farmers mobilisation, rapid capacity gaps assessment and site visits; Design tailor made training materials to cover; Training farmers; Farmers exchange visits; TOT at farmer level; Installation of three basic and strategically placed collection/distribution centres; Facilitate creation of reliable long-term market links; and Mobilise farmers into a solid self-financing 'banking' platform.

Institutional Consultations and Planning

CETRAD held Series of consultative meetings with one of the key stakeholders in dairy value chain, the Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDAP) domiciled in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. The purpose of the meetings was to elaborate the TPA, define the focus area and the target group, design the approach and develop a work plan. The key area of focus was identified as dairy milk value chain in Umande Location target one of the youngest farmers dairy cooperative known as ‘Umande Dairy Cooperative Society Limited’. The consultative meetings with key national and county government departments were followed by community mobilization meetings as well as rapid capacity gaps assessments.Design tailor made training materials for farmers

Following effective farmers’ mobilization and assessment of capacity gaps, CETRAD together with Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP), Laikipia County, outlined key themes/areas which the farmers trainings would focus on. These key areas include Pasture and fodder establishment, utilization and conservation; Dairy cattle feeding; Agri-business Training; Group dynamics and Sacco formation training; Waste Management Training; General Disease control Training; Fodder utilization and Conservation – Silage preparation; Table banking and Resource mobilization; and Milk value addition. Subsequently, the respective resource persons were identified who prepared training materials that were used to deliver the trainings.

CETRAD and ASDSP have conducted, a total of nine (9) training sessions with an average of 70 participants in a single training session. The training include Pasture and fodder establishment; Dairy cattle feeding; Agri-business; Group dynamics and Sacco formation - Part 1 and part 2; Waste Management; General Disease control; Fodder utilization and Conservation – Silage preparation; and milk value addition. The training were held at one of the members home (Maina Gatuchi) and adopted a participatory adult learning methodology utilizing small lectures, power point presentations, illustrations, buzz group discussions, plenary discussions and question and answer sessions. There were also field visits to demonstration farms where farmers got hands on experience in the establishment of fodder crops in particular nursery establishment and transplanting.

Figure 2: Cooperative members planting fodder in a demonstration farm (let) and preparing yogurt during various farmers’ training (right).

Farmers’ Exchange Visits

CETRAD together with ASDSP have conducted two exchange visits where the Umande cooperative members learnt from other successful farmers. The first exchange visit was conducted in Matanya, Tigithi Location which is relatively semi-arid grassland implying that climatically is lesser than Umande. This place offered Umande farmers an opportunity to learn state of the art fodder production in area receiving less rainfall than where they come from. It also provided a platform to learn how the farmer started from nothing to an enviable dairy farmer in the area. The key achievements by the farmer include rearing four high quality dairy cows from initially one cow. Each cow yields between 22 and 28 litres a day giving her an income of Ksh.128,000 per month. She has been able to maintain eight silage which help cushion against dry season when fodder production reduces greatly. The fodder crops produced in the farm include hay, lucern and corn. The farmer also makes her own dairy meal and therefore cut the production costs and has also been able to install a standard fodder store. She has managed to install a biogas which meets all her energy requirements on the farm and as a result reduced usage of fuel wood such as charcoal and firewood and therefore conserving the environment.

Figure 3: Umande Dairy Cooperative members in Mrs. Njeri Mwangi’ farm during an exchange tour to Tigithi, being taught on fodder production (left) and dairy cattle housing and feeding (right)

The second exchange visit was conducted to Ngarua Dairy farmers co-operative Society in Laikipia County, Nyahururu Sub County, Githiga Ward, Kinamba Market. Its vision is to be a leading farmer’s solution transforming the livelihoods of the community while its mission is to promote and provide an enabling environment for the growth and sustainability of the dairy. The cooperative has a total of 1800 farmers where 50% (900) are active members. This society therefore provided the much needed exposure to a well-functioning milk cooler for Umande society which was expecting to install a similar activity through TPA 2. The society has been able to create jobs, create market links where milk is sold to various customers, input store trading (providing inputs to farmers locally) and capacity building to its members on various themes related to dairy milk farming. Despite challenges such as seasonal variations in milk production, poor cattle breeds, inadequate financial resources for expansion, poor and fluctuating milk prices and lack of machinery, the society has made several strides forward where it capitalizes on milk value addition hence attracting better prices than raw milk, installation of standard demonstration sites for both dairy cattle and hydroponic barley farming as well as creating a comprehensive member’s database.

Figure 4: Umande Dairy Cooperative members being shown how milk is received (left) and the functioning of a milk cooler at Nga’rua Daily Cooperative Society