Kenya is the land of dairy farmers. Thousands of smallholder farmers are active with only one or two cows. In addition, there are also many larger farmers active. They sometimes own five, ten or even dozens of cows. On vast prairies, the cows graze in complete freedom, with the production of milk being more of a nice side effect than a goal in itself with which one can also earn a decent income. It is precisely in this area that there is still a world to be won!
World to win
Because of this conviction, MissionInvest has been active in Kenya with various project partners since 2020. The goal is to join hands, join forces and make a real difference by applying new concepts. An important breakthrough has been the usage of a ‘game-based learning’ tool from Kucheza to train a cooperative of over 1,200 female farmers. They used tablets and interactive games to gain much better insights into the business economics of their farms. We used those gained insights in a follow-up version of the Kucheza solution, where larger farms could also be trained. This resulted in an intensive collaboration between the RVIST College (Rift Valley Institute of Sience and Technology) in Nakuru and the DTC (Dairy Training Center) in Oenkerk, Friesland. DTC has been providing hands-on training for the dairy industry worldwide for more than 50 years. In the Netherlands, they are known for the so-called Practical Schools where ‘our farmers’ learn the profession. But they are also active in India, Georgia and now Kenya.
I’m graduated in Animal Production at one of the Kenyan colleges. Now, I am a dairy farmer. The pilot training by DTC has provided me a lot of skills and knowledge about dairy cattle management. Now, I’m convinced that my dairy farm can be a viable business, rather than considering it as a hobby. The key differentiator is to improve efficiency in my management activities. I request DTC to make this course a regular occurrence so that more and more farmers may access these skills and knowledge. – Catherine Mbithe, farmer
As a follow-up to projects in 2020-2023, we would now like to start a follow-up project in the Nakuru region. This region is located 100km northwest of the capital Nairobi. A typical rural area with its challenges: many farmers are aging, there is a scarcity of young entrepreneurial farmers, young people see it as a risky profession due to the effects of climate change, and on top of that there is high youth unemployment in that area causing a migration to the cities. In short, Nakuru is in danger of getting into a downward spiral.
In 2023, DTC conducted some preliminary surveys in the Nakura area. The outcome is very positive. Indeed, there are plenty of opportunities for change and growth! With input from the right expertise, DTC sees very good opportunities to take the dairy sector to the next level. If successful, a lasting impact will be realized for the dairy industry of Kenya, and even East Africa!
Dairy Business School Kenya
DTC is convinced of the solution: Kenya needs a Dairy Business School where young talented dairy farmers and milk processors are given high-quality and, above all, practical training.
The objective is clear: in five years, DTC aims to train 200 young dairy farmers and milk processors. In turn, each participant will mentor a group of small farmers to produce more efficiently and add value by processing milk into dairy products. As a result, all 7,000 members of the farmers’ cooperative will experience a positive impact at the farm level, which will spread over a period of 5-10 years.
What makes our Dairy Business School unique?
Many courses in Africa are highly theoretical in nature; the same applies for Kenya. Therefore, the Dairy Business School wants to put maximum focus on the practical application of what is learned, exactly the same way it has been doing this successfully for years at the practical schools in the Netherlands. The following aspects make the Dairy Business School unique:
DTC focuses on promising and talented students who can actually become leaders in the dairy industry as entrepreneurs. Participating students often have limited resources, but then again they are not entirely destitute. Therefore, we expect them to contribute 1/3 of the tuition themselves. The remainder they can borrow through a study fund and then have to pay back over 5 years. This way we build “commitment” into the program. This is not only important for the student, but it also allows us to make the Dairy Business School financially sustainable in just over 5 years!
Each training place costs € 2.400. Specifically, the above means that a student must pay € 800 himself, and in addition he/she must borrow an amount of € 1.600 from a study fund set up for that purpose. By the way, repayment of the loan only starts in the 2nd year after completion of the Dairy Business School.
The pilot training was good because it helped me on how to identify the opportunities for dairy products in the market and meeting potential customers. The training also improved my financial management skills. I benefited a lot in learning by practically making yoghurt, cultured milk, ice-cream and cheese. The participatory and practical training further gave me a new mindset, that is, to start and manage my own business. – Farid Alwanga, dairy processing enterpreneur
In order to start with the first group of 25 students, a donation amount of € 50.000 is needed by April 2024. This amount is needed to provide these students with a loan of € 1.600. In addition, costs must be made for organization, marketing, etc.
Then, in the period 2025-2028, an additional amount of € 50.000 per year will be needed, or a total of € 200.000. The goal is to grow the study fund to this amount, so that 40 students can be admitted each year with a loan of € 1,600 each. Since the first repayments are expected as early as 2026, an annual increase in the fund of € 50.000 will be sufficient. Over the total period 2024-2028, this would be a sum of € 250.000.
Ideally, we would build this scholarship fund entirely with donations, but partial funding with an interest-free loan is also perfectly feasible. In that case, the distribution would be as follows:
Since 2020, MissionInvest has been involved in the dairy sector in Kenya. This project is another great example of ‘creating ripples of hope’; the impact keeps spreading like an oil slick! Your support will give a strong improvement in income for hundreds of farming families, therefore malnutrition will be reduced, and new jobs will be created for professionals in the dairy value chain, young dairy farmers will start to see perspective again, Nakuru will become an example of hope for other areas in East Africa!
But that’s not all! As a larger donor and/or investor, you will have the opportunity to be part of this amazing project and visit it yourself! You will be involved in the final presentations and assessment of credit opportunities for each participant. Moreover, we invite you to participate in the exchange of knowledge and experience between Dutch and Kenyan dairy farmers.
Invest in the future of the dairy industry in East Africa and help us achieve sustainable change. Together we can make a difference, and become a driving force behind this promising Dairy Business School!
Please note! Your investments are not subject to the supervision of the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM). There is no permit and prospectus requirement for this activity.