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The Kenya Vision 2030’s economic pillar identifies the agricultural and rural development sector as one of the key building blocks for achieving the country’s national development agenda and raising the country’s growth rate. Traditionally, the sector has played a crucial role in ensuring food security, job creation, income generation, foreign exchange earnings, and linkages with other sectors of the economy. However, for the country to reap maximum benefits from the sector, it is important to improve the traditional methods of farming with modern technology, equipment, and linkages. Empowering farmers through participatory grassroots stakeholders’ forums will not only improve the output but also their living standards.

Techwin limited, a local stainless-steel manufacturing company and food processing expert, has been supporting SMEs in the dairy value-chain sector for the last 15 years, journeying with dairy cooperatives and farmers to realize a significant contribution to the Kenyan dairy sector. Working with both local and international research & development experts to manufacture technologically advanced products, this company strives to meet the needs of the dairy cooperatives considering their localities and challenges. Through this partnership, the SMEs have been able to create jobs, enter into new markets with high standard products, lower poverty levels, and develop rural setups significantly; dairy SMEs are increasingly becoming the engines of our economy.

Techwin Limited has worked with over 500 dairy cooperatives over the years supporting them in terms of capacity building, providing advice on sustainable and cost-effective options of value addition with the dairy sector, advising on maximum utilization of resources, and supplying dairy equipment that is suitable for their localities. Given that most rural cooperatives face challenges such as the unavailability of electricity, Techwin Limited, partnering with various NGOs, has been able to supply value additional equipment that is run on alternative energy sources such as solar-powered cooling stations. Some of this equipment includes; Milk cooling tanks, pasteurizers, milk dispensing units, milking systems, transportation tankers, and yogurt processing & packaging lines.

With the support of various county governments, NGOs, private organizations, and other government bodies, Techwin Limited has been able to reach cooperatives in the rural parts of the country with the aim of reducing food wastage in the agricultural sector and the quality of output. Holding a minimum of two, county dairy value addition training monthly, the company has reached counties such as Uasin Gishu, Bomet, Meru, Bungoma, Nyandarua, Tana River, Kisii, Nakuru, Nandi, and Kitale among others in the country, and wishes to expand its reach.

The majority of dairy farmers live in the rural parts of Kenya and agriculture activities play an essential role, not only as a source of food and household income but also in contributing to the economic development. With agriculture contributing to approximately 33% of Kenya’s GDP, there is always a need to improve performance and reduce wastage in a sustainable way. This training enables the cooperatives and SMEs to have a proper understanding of the dairy sector trends, with the aim of improving the traditional farming methods that farmers still employ and incorporating new technologies, equipment, and facilities. “We organize these value addition training to empower dairy farmers at individual levels and provide cooperatives with a platform to learn smart ways of managing their produce. Bottom line; how do they make more money from milk,” Head of Marketing Ms. Queen L’ombaka said. “Once cooperative groups come to us, we form a partnership. We educate them on the benefits of these milk value-additions, which equipment is needed, how to use them, and available payment plans.”

Ms. Queen L’ombaka, Techwin Limited’s head of marketing, conducting training in Uasin Gishu County

Some of the cooperatives that Techwin has worked with include; Keringet Foods Limited, Kitise CBO, Sirikwa Dairy, Bukura Agricultural College, Lelan Highland cooperative and Sabatia Farmers’ Cooperative. At Lelan Highland Dairies, Techwin Limited supplied the dairy with Pasteurizers, boilers, Milk dispensers, and Compressors.

“Techwin Limited has been a reliable partner. They supplied us with a milk pasteurizer, a hot water boiler run by firewood to power our yogurt processing plant, and milk cooling tanks which have contributed to the success of our dairy. We are happy with the quality of the equipment and the after-sales service that we have been receiving.”Mr. Nicholas Lomuket, the dairy’s General Manager reported.

The head of projects and cooperatives management, Engineer John Muchemi from Techwin Limited had this to say; “When our clients are happy, we know we are doing our work well.  We ensure we make food processing designs as efficient and sustainable as possible,”

Knowledge is often quoted as one of the main reasons why an SME can succeed or fail. It is therefore essential that cooperatives, farmers, and dairy business owners access continuous industry training to boost their chances of success. The partnership between these cooperatives and Techwin Limited provides them with the opportunity to access appropriate agricultural extension services which have, in turn, improved their yield, value for money, and local economies. It is important to ensure that dairy farmers in rural areas are empowered.

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