Kenyatta family’s Brookside company is now shutting down its Taita Taveta regional factory reflecting an economy on its knees.
The regional factory, Wumingu Cooling Plant, will be closed effective March 1, 2020.
The Cooling Plant located in Wundanyi town has a capacity of processing 10,000 litres of milk per day.
The closure of the factory is set to render hundreds of residents jobless, and deprive dairy farmers of income in millions.
In 2017, the company paid farmers a total of Ksh52 million for supply of milk.
In 2019, the company was accused of using the Kenya Dairy Board to stifle competition by proposing criminalisation of the direct sale of milk to consumers from farmers.
The Dairy Regulations 2019 regulations proposed that farmers sell their milk to recognised processors before it is distributed to the consumer.
“Dairy Regulations 2019 will force him (farmer) to take his milk to a cooling and pooling facility twice a day which might be a very long distance away. If he is lucky he will only spend Ksh100 for each return trip, spending Ksh200 in transport expenses alone for his milk to reach the collection point. Price paid for his supplied milk will be around Ksh25 per liter, if he is lucky enough to get paid at all. He is now left with a mere Ksh50 daily,” say the farmers.
The regulations were later recanted after public uproar.
The company joins other firms in Kenya which have closed certain ventures, leaving at least 25,000 people fired from their jobs in 2019.
In 2019, data from the Registrar of Companies shows that at least 388 companies were dissolved between March and August 2019 alone with the situation expected to get worse in 2020.
Companies that have laid off workers in 2019 include Athi River Mining Ltd, East African Breweries Limited, East Africa Portland Cement, Andela, Finlay Flowers and Air Afrik among others.