Impact assessment on the farmers milk marketing plants : a case of Ol'kalou Dairy Ltd

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Southern New Hampshire University
Generally, it is accepted that impact assessment is a critical element in further improving community development initiatives and promoting intervention. Also existing impact assessments have made an important contribution to understanding some of the complex interactions between community development interventions, livelihoods and different dimensions of poverty reduction and empowerment (Linda Myoux, 2003). This research project on the social-economic impact of farmers' milk marketing plants in OPkalou Division, Nyandarua District was conducted in the month of March 2007. The main aim of the research was to determine the effectiveness of collective marketing initiatives of the farmers, in partnership with Heifer International - Kenya. The results were envisaged to enhance the collaboration of farmers and Heifer International in its bid to achieve its vision of poverty alleviation and improving nutrition. The study was done for the purpose of examining how collective marketing though the establishment of a milk marketing plant has impacted on the smallholder dairy farmer, effect on their livelihoods and addresses the challenges that are being experienced so as to make recommendations on the way forward in replication of such projects. The study also intended to establish the employment created through direct involvement in milk production and through several support services tied to dairy production. By using questionnaires, interviews and observation 156 respondents were contacted and the data revealed that collective marketing of milk products has greatly benefited the farmers who now, no longer experience serious price fluctuation and inability to sell their produce. This initiative has also rejuvenated their participation in milk production to earn higher incomes to better their lives as most of the earnings from milk sales is used for daily sustenance. The buyers also appreciated such arrangement as it led to a reduction in their costs because they would find the produce ready in bulk unlike if they had to go collecting it all over the locations. However it has been learnt that, a lot more needs to be done to create a buy in to many more farmers so that they would enjoy the economies of scale. Community mobilization in this respect is important for the success of such initiatives. Also to be included in the programs is access to credit to enable the farmers re-stocking their lost herd. The establishment of milk marketing plants has therefore, provided the farmers opportunity to sell their milk, participate in the management of the plant and create window for sustainable rural development. (Author abstract)