Kenyan Dairy Farmers Rally Against Proposed Privatization of KCC

By Kilimokwanza.org Team

Nakuru: In a dramatic show of unity, dairy farmers supplying milk to the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) have vehemently opposed the government’s proposal to privatize the state agency. An assembly of farmers, led by their national chairman, Muchemi Nderitu, along with various county chairpersons, organized a demonstration to express their concerns over what they consider an ill-advised move.

Gathering in Nakuru, the group’s officials voiced their determination to ensure KCC remains a public entity. “As an association, we fully reject any move to privatize the KCC. This corporation should, at all costs, remain public for the interest of farmers,” Nderitu stated emphatically.

Nderitu recalled the revival of the milk processor under the late former President Mwai Kibaki’s administration, highlighting its significant positive impact on dairy farmers. “When KCC collapsed, milk prices had plummeted to Sh5 per litre. Kibaki’s revival efforts led to a surge in prices to Sh16 per litre, even during periods of surplus,” he explained.

The leaders of the dairy farmers fear that the sale of KCC could lead to the collapse of the dairy sector, as the processor currently plays a crucial role in regulating and balancing the market against unfair practices by private firms. “It’s the presence of KCC in the market that has ensured milk prices remain at reasonable levels at all times. Without it, dairy farmers are doomed,” Nderitu warned.

The farmers’ opposition to the privatization of KCC highlights their concern for the sustainability of their livelihoods and the broader impact on the Kenyan dairy sector. As the debate continues, the fate of KCC remains a critical issue for the nation’s agricultural economy.

New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC): A Historical Overview

1920s-1930s: Foundational Years

The journey of New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) dates back to the early 1920s when Kenya’s dairy sector was just budding. Dairy farmers, facing difficulties in selling their milk, formed the Naivasha Creamery in 1925, marking the inception of a significant dairy enterprise in Naivasha.

1930s-1960s: Expansion Era

Witnessing the success of the Naivasha Creamery, the need for a more extensive, centralized dairy processing unit emerged. Thus, in 1931, the Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) was born as a cooperative society, with its inaugural creamery opening in Naivasha in 1932. Over the following decades, KCC grew prolifically, inaugurating multiple creameries across Kenya and becoming East Africa’s premier dairy processor by the 1960s.

1970s-1980s: Facing Adversity and Transforming

The 1970s and 1980s presented numerous challenges for KCC, including stiff competition and stringent economic policies from the government, hampering modernization. In response, KCC embarked on a transformative journey in the 1980s, diversifying its products, enhancing marketing strategies, and investing in contemporary technology.

1990s-2000s: Restructuring and Moving Towards Privatization

This era marked a pivotal phase for KCC, with the Kenyan government announcing its privatization in 1991. Despite a complex and prolonged process, the privatization concluded in 2003, leading to the establishment of New KCC Limited. This new entity revitalized the company, modernizing facilities, broadening the product range, and strengthening market presence. Today, New KCC stands as the leading dairy processor in East and Central Africa.

Key Milestones in New KCC’s Journey:

  • 1925: Formation of Naivasha Creamery.
  • 1931: Establishment of Kenya Co-operative Creameries.
  • 1932: Inauguration of the first KCC creamery in Naivasha.
  • 1960s: Ascendancy as East Africa’s largest dairy processor.
  • 1980s: Undertaking transformative strategies.
  • 1991: Kenyan government’s privatization announcement.
  • 2003: Formation of New KCC Limited.
  • Present: Dominance in the East and Central African dairy sector.

New KCC’s Impact and Future Outlook:

New KCC has significantly shaped Kenya’s dairy industry, providing stable markets for milk producers, enhancing product quality and safety, and contributing to economic growth through job creation. With a commitment to excellence, innovation, and technological advancement, New KCC is poised for continued success and growth in the dairy industry.