Dairy Sector Desk members participate in Dairy Value Chain Training and B2B in Kenya

SMEs play a critical role in economic development in Africa and around the world. We see SMEs often being the key driver in creating employment, strengthening and expanding the private sector, and increasing per capita GDP. Africa Agribusiness Academy (AAA) understands this very well and this explains why it’s committed to walk the journey with Agribusiness Entrepreneurs. AAA encourage and enable small and medium- sized entrepreneurs to launch and expand their businesses and enter the formal economy, thus helping SMEs to serve as an engine of growth.

AAA serves its members through different approaches, these being; Business Clubs, Knowledge Networks, Sector Desks and the Resource centre. Sector Desks (SD) are the grouping of SMEs which operate in different agricultural sectors. Within AAA, Sector Desks function through cross- countries activities cutting across all AAA country chapters.

The Dairy Sector Desk is one of the most vibrant Sector Desks, with the largest membership across the countries. On 27th and 28th April 2017 the SD held a two day training on Dairy Value Chain and Embracing Technology which was combined with a B2B. The activity was held in Nakuru, Kenya, attracting members from Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya itself.

The objective of the training was to provide members with a forum to share information, stories and experiences in a way that builds their business understanding and insights. It was also to help them explore together with other Dairy SD members new business possibilities and create new, mutually beneficial opportunities. By visiting dairy farms and processing companies members would be in a position to improve their businesses by seizing the opportunity through learning.

During day one members were trained on Hygienic milk production, Milk collection, preservation, transportation, Value addition;  Fermented products making processes(yoghurt, cultured buttermilk) Cheese making technology, new technologies in dairy industries.

AAA exposes its members to practical learning, coaching and mentorship and on the same day members visited Chemusian farm which is a modern dairy farm that has been in existence for over ten years. It is based some few kilometers from Nakuru town. It sits on 2800 acres of land having over 800 cows out of which 400 are being milked. On a single day they are able to produce over 8,000 liters of milk which is commercially sold to milk processors and they own and manage a number of milk outlets in Nakuru.

The farm is being managed by professionals and they have embraced modern technology in the Dairy farm. This farm was the best for AAA Dairy SD members who were on a mission to learning how to operate a modern dairy farm. Members did learn a lot from feed production, making of syringe, use of milking machine, milk pasteurization, calving, milk distribution, animal feeding, milk hygiene, modern technology being used to monitor the animal i.e. use of GPS among many other benefits.

AAA is committed in ensuring that the members access cheap and affordable finance to be able to commercially grow their businesses.

On day two, Dairy SD members participated in a B2B with Rift and Upper Eastern Business Club members. The B2B activity was attended by UMATI Capital who is in the business of offering trade Finance. They took members through training on the importance of understanding trade finance and the role it plays in ensuring the business cash flow is maintained.

The training was followed with a company visit to Farming Solutions Ltd, a company that is owned by an AAA Member. The company is in the business of pasteurizing fresh milk and importing and selling Milk ATMs across Kenya. Members were taken through the coaching and mentorship session with the company Director Mr. Geoffrey Gitonga. Members also visited the company’s Dairy farm where they learnt a lot.

The day would not come to an end without the visit to Happy Cow which is based a few kilometers from Farming Solutions Ltd. The company is owned by AAA Member and is in the business of making Holland Cheese and Yoghurt. The company has been in AAA since 2014 and AAA has been there to support its growth from a Small to Medium enterprise.

The two day activity saw members learning a lot, networking and engaging in business with each other. One member from Rwanda Chapter said that the two day event was an eye opener and he felt motivated to go and grow his business from the knowledge and experienced he had gained at the company visits.