Transforming Dairy Farming


The Success Story of Sabatia Farmers Cooperative Society Limited

Written by Ken Opondo, Cooperative Advisor, Acting Now Project

Located in Baringo County, Sabatia Farmers Cooperative Society Limited (Sabatia FCS) stands as one of the oldest cooperatives in Kenya's dairy sector and is located in the ASAL part of Baringo. Established in 1963, the cooperative has steadily grown to encompass 1852 active members, offering comprehensive solutions across the dairy value chain.

Figure 1: Training of farmers at a demo farm by Silvia Cheptui extension officer

Sabatia FCS's primary objective is to address the myriad challenges faced by dairy farmers, from input supply to marketing. Central to its operations is the bulking, processing, and marketing of milk and its by-products. The cooperative aggregates an average of 11,000 litres per day of which 1000 litres are value-added through yoghurt and mursik (fermented local milk delicacy) production at the cooperative, ensuring a steady income stream for its members.

Figure 2: Milk Collection at Sabatia FCS

In a ground-breaking partnership with Agriterra, Sabatia FCS has achieved remarkable milestones. Through tailored training programs, over a thousand farmers have been equipped with essential skills in fodder production, calf rearing, breeding, and clean milk production. This initiative not only enhances productivity but also ensures sustainable agricultural practices.

One of the key achievements of the partnership is the establishment of centralized commercial fodder production. In 2023 alone, the cooperative produced 250 tons of silage, generating revenue of approximately KES 2,500,000. Moreover, the procurement of a forage chopping machine has facilitated efficient silage preparation, benefiting both the cooperative and its members.At the farm level farmers produced and preserved silage of approximately over 600 tons.

Figure 3: Preparation of silage at the cooperative

Demonstration plots have been set up across the cooperative's operational zones, showcasing various fodder varieties and innovative farming techniques. These initiatives not only empower farmers with practical knowledge but also foster community engagement and knowledge sharing.

Figure 4: Demo farm at one of the cooperative lead farmers

The impact of these interventions is evident in the surge of milk volumes aggregated by the cooperative. With the support of additional extension staff, Sabatia FCS has witnessed a significant increase in milk production, particularly during the dry seasons. This not only boosts the income of farmers but also contributes to food security and economic resilience in the region.

A testament to its success, Sabatia FCS serves as a model for sustainable dairy farming practices in Kenya and beyond. By prioritizing farmer empowerment, technological innovation, and strategic partnerships, the cooperative exemplifies the transformative potential of collaborative efforts in the dairy sector.

Figure 5: Agriterra's Emanuel Kibet and Ken Opondo with the Sabatia FCS leadership

As Sabatia FCS continues to chart new territories in dairy farming, its journey stands as a testament to the power of collective action and innovation in driving positive change in rural communities. With a steadfast commitment to its members and a vision for sustainable development, the cooperative paves the way for a brighter future for Kenya's dairy sector.

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