The Ministry of Agriculture is on the spot over idle and vandalized bulk milk coolers that were procured for Kshs. 2.34 billion.
According to the Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu, a field visit to 14 bulk milk coolers belonging to cooperatives in Kisumu, Nakuru, Narok, Kitui, Embu and Nyeri revealed that the coolers were either not functional or being underutilized. Additionally, some coolers had been vandalized and had missing parts as there was no security, while others had not been fully installed.
The State Department for Livestock procured 350 bulk milk coolers, each with a capacity of 3,000 litres. However, the latest Auditor-General report shows that only 190 coolers had been delivered at end of June 2019 raising questions on the whereabouts of a balance of 160 bulk milk coolers valued at Kshs. 1.07 billion.
Further, there was no status report provided by the State Department for Livestock on the procurement, delivery, installation and utilization of the coolers.
The government in 2017 announced plans to purchase milk coolers, which were to be distributed to groups of farmers with the capacity to produce at least 500 litres of milk per day.
The coolers were meant to benefit farmers in all counties in order to reduce milk losses and improve the quality of milk reaching the market.
Agriculture is a devolved function, whose management and funding falls under county governments. However, corruption remains an impediment to the achievement of the benefits of devolution in Kenya including in critical sectors such as agriculture. Anti-graft agencies should not relent in bringing to book perpetrators who, instead of delivering services to Kenyans, are only out to enrich themselves.