THE state will spend Sh400 million to repair and modernise machinery at the New KCC dairy company in Eldoret, Deputy President William Ruto has said. Some Rift Valley farmers have opposed the company’s privatisation, arguing that powerful people are scheming to take over its Sh6 billion assets.
“Farmers supply only about 120,000 litres per day at the KCC in Eldoret, but the factory needs more than 500,000 litres,” Ruto said. He was speaking on Saturday in Ngeria, Uasin Gishu county, where he was with area Governor Jackson Mandago and MPs including Oscar Sudi of Kapseret.
The DP said there is an extensive market for milk internationally, hence the need for farmers to produce more. Ruto said the Sh400 million will particularly be used on repairs at the New KCC factory to enable it increase production of powder milk.
On Friday, three North Rift governors and eight MPs said they had written to the government demanding that New KCC be handed back to farmers. Governors Mandago of Uasin Gishu, Cleophas Lagat of Nandi and Alex Tolgos of Elgeyo Marakwet asked the government to write off Sh550 million debts at the company.
“The company was put up by money from farmers and therefore the question of privatisation does not arise,” Mandago said.
Mandago said the value of New KCC when the government took over the company was Sh6.5 billion. He said the government only pumped in Sh500 million, which was “not even 10 percent of the value”. MPs who have backed the farmers include Sudi, Elisha Busienei of Turbo, James Bett of Kesses, Sila Tiren of Moiben and Wesley Korir of Cheranganyi.
Tolgos and Lagat said they were grateful that the government had rescued the dairy company when it was taken over by individuals, but that was not enough reason to privatise it.
Source: The Star