From its humble beginnings as a dairy cooperative society registered in September 2008, Kabiyet dairy is now one of the largest dairy cooperative societies located in Nandi County. It is also one of the six cooperatives that have come together to form the Nandi Dairy Cooperative Union.
The Kabiyet dairy cooperative society operates in Mosop and Chesumei constituencies with approximate 15,350 households engaged in dairy farming. The catchment has a dairy population of 40,335 that comprises of both local and exotic breeds. Here, 95 percent of the dairy farmers keep their animals under free range while the remaining 5 percent practice intensive farming (zero and semi zero grazing).
Initially, dairy farmers in this area had difficulties getting regular markets for their milk, leading to losses. This prompted the farmers to come together and form a cooperative in 2008.
When it started operations in 2009, Kabiyet Dairy Cooperative was receiving an average of 1,623 kg of milk per day. This increased over the years and by 2021, over 9,500kgs of milk was being delivered to the society per day.
The core business of the cooperative is marketing of milk for its members. To do this more effectively, the society has established other services that support the members. These include transportation services that collect milk from the farms, agrovets for provision of farm inputs, SACCO services that offers financial assistance and feed formulation mill which ensures production of quality and subsidized feeds for farmers. Others are animal health and Artificial Insemination (AI) offering quality animal healthcare and breeding services and a vibrant extension department that continuously recruits and trains members.
As the society continued to grow however. It started facing challenges that include unhealthy competition from milk vendors who would purchase milk from members at slightly higher prices especially during the dry season thereby undermining the efforts made by the cooperative, poor road network that makes it difficult to transport milk especially during rainy seasons, fluctuating milk prices and dependency on processors who delay payments to the society that impact payments to farmers.
Kabiyet dairy cooperative society was among those selected for support by NARIGP in streamlining the marketing of milk in the county. They received an inclusion grant which was used for the recruitment of members especially from CIG and VMGs and to improve on the operations of the cooperative.
This inclusion grant led increase of active farmers from 2,954 to 3,287. The dairy society has now registered 8,759 members and 15 Common Interest Groups (CIG).
The milk volumes received also increased from 13,408 kg per day to 15,247 kg and the price paid to the farmers increased to an average of KSh 35 per kg. The grant facilitated prompt payments to farmers with the credit period reducing from 60 days to 10 days. The number of women now active delivering milk to the society has increased from 38 percent to 59 percent. There is an also increase in milk production, therefore requires additional market opportunities.
Kabiyet and other cooperative societies felt the need to have a milk processing plant for value addition. They approached various agencies to fund the construction of the plant which would handle more milk and process the milk to a variety of products. The Union has received funding from the county government of Nandi and NARIGP funded the fresh milk and yoghurt processing lines of the plant. The equipment has already been delivered and installed. Plant operations are expected to roll out any time this year.