Kenyatta Company Backtracks on Plan to Close Down Regional HQ

UPDATE Monday, February 24: Brookside Dairy Limited associated with President Uhuru Kenyatta's family has backtracked on its decision to close down its milk cooling plant in Taita Taveta.

That followed a meeting between Governor Granton Samboja and the company's top leadership where a decision was arrived at to maintain operations in the county.

“I met the Brookside executive chairman and we agreed they will continue receiving milk from today going forward. We also agreed they will be having consultative meetings with stakeholders on how to address some challenges that have prompted our farmers to withdraw from the company for lack of substantive profit,” Samboja assured farmers during a baraza in Wamingu area of Taita Taveta.

In the recent past, many companies in Kenya have continued to suffer from hard economic times leading to scaled-down operations or even total closure.

The problem continues to reign trouble even for major companies with Brookside Limited announcing the closure of its main branch in Coast region located at Taita Taveta County, the announcement made on Thursday, February 13.

In a live broadcast on NTV, the company indicated that the closure was occasioned by the hard economic times affecting the country.

 

Milk processing at Brookside Dairy factory in Ruiru.

In addition, the reduction in profits realised by the company was also tagged as a key reason to close down the branch, dimming the hopes of many farmers who were relying on the dairy farming business.

 

 

 

“The company announced the closure of the company by the end of February. This is to mean that from March 1, the farmers will have nowhere to sell their milk.

 

 

 

“The most hit will be farmers from the Wundanyi area who are the largest producers of milk in the region,” remarked a journalist in the area.

 

 

 

Taita Taveta is the largest producer of milk in the coast region, this being attributed to the locals change of tact to embrace dairy farming.

 

 

 

The company has also been reportedly reducing prices per litre for the farmers in the region.

 

 

 

“At times the farmers only receive Ksh27 per litre of milk. This is way below the cost of production for the milk,” added the reporter.

 

 

 

The intended closure of the major branch is also expected to cause job losses to workers at the milk-processing facility.

 

 

 

The company set foot in the region in 2009 marking ten years of operation where they continued growing the number of farmers embracing livestock keeping as a way of earning a living.

 

 

 

In a rushed move to salvage the local livestock keepers, the Taita Taveta County Department of Agriculture has urged the company to engage in talks to halt the decision for the sake of the multiple stakeholders.

 

 

 

The county reportedly asked the company to extend the period before closure to at least four months to allow the farmers to seek for an alternative market for their milk.

 

A livestock expert takes farmers through animal breeding programmes at Wumingu, Taita Taveta county in October, 2019