After almost a year and a half of intense mobilization and planning, EADD launched two new Dairy Farmer Business Associations (DFBAs) on the 27th of August 2009. The launch of the two farmer companies was professionally executed by EADD team in close collaboration with the committee members of both companies and their members. The two new plants were officially commissioned by the Kenyan Minister of Livestock and Development Hon. Dr. Mohamed Kuti, assisted by the Minister of Agriculture Hon. William Ruto, members of parliament and local leaders from the respective constituencies, representatives from the Kenya Dairy Board and other government officials as well as various stakeholders of the Kenyan dairy industry. EADD staff were on both sites to support and to celebrate with the farmers in their great achievements led by Dr. Sahr Lebbie, Vice President for Heifer International Africa Area Program, EADD Regional Director, Moses Nyabila, EADD Chief Advisor Brian Dugdill, EADD Kenya Country Program Manager Augustine Cheruiyot and members of the Technical Advisory Committee.
The two launches were a great success as scores of farmers and interested parties turned out in big numbers to welcome two new projects that are expected to change their lives in various ways. An estimate of 8, 000 people attended both launches with Lelan registering an estimated 3,000 participants and Kabiyet 5,000 participants.
The launches were preceded by a special newspaper pullout in the East African Standard Newspaper highlighting EADD activities in the two sites and giving personal stories from farmers of both sites
The pillars of the two launches were exhibition and training activities that were organized around the two occasions as a complementary field day for dairy farmers. Several exhibitors and BDS providers interacted with farmers to provide insights on their products and explore future collaborations with farmers. Among the industries that exhibited included milk processors, financial institutions, agrovets and other dairy stakeholders.
The two key government officials spoke highly of the farmer companies and appreciated the work that has been done by EADD in bringing together farmers to set up viable dairy business. Their message to the farmers was to increase their dairy productivity since market is now available in the form of the chilling plant business. In Kabiyet, the Minister for Agriculture, Hon. William Ruto donated Kshs 500,000 to the company to help the members set up a village bank. And in Lelan, the government assured the farmers that 5 new tractors will be delivered to help jumpstart the milk transport business. The attendance by key government officials indicated government support to both the farmers and EADD.
The launch of the two cooling plants is the onset of a vibrant hub of economic activities in the areas as spin-offs of the cooling plant activities spread to other agricultural and commercial ventures