cardinal-john-njue-launches-milky-project

Cardinal Njue Launches Milky Project

During the 3rd Caritas Nairobi Annual Farmers’ Day, the Archbishop of Nairobi His Eminence John Cardinal Njue officially launched the Milky Project aimed at the development of sustainable dairy chain.

The project which targets 2, 000 farmers has been funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), will be implemented in partnership with Caritas Italiana, Celim Non-Governmental Organisation and Caritas Nairobi. Milky Project will be implemented over a duration of three years in 4 sub counties in Kiambu County.

In line with the Kiambu County Dairy Strategic plan of promoting sustainable economic growth, the Milky Project seeks to assist farmer improve the quality and volume of milk produced, process and market the milk and enhance the conservation and transformation capabilities of Limuru Archdiocesan Farm.

Speaking during the launch, His Eminence John Cardinal Njue said, “The Church recognizes that agriculture plays a critical role in the development of our people and more so dairy farming, by empowering our farmer’s dignity. Therefore, the Archdiocese of Nairobi will ensure that the implementation of the Milky Project is successful as the project will also make an important contribution towards the realization of food security, a main component of the country’s Big Four Agenda.” 

The Archdiocese of Nairobi Day is a knowledge exchange activity which brings farmers together to share their farming experiences and learn about new developments on agricultural practices. This years’ event under the theme “Sustainable Dairy Value Chain Development” was attended by over 1, 300 farmers from different parts of Kiambu county.

Kiambu County is among the highest milk producers in central Kenya given its higher population of dairy cows compared to other areas in central Kenya. Dairy farming is an integral contributor to the country’s economy as it accounts 14% of the Agricultural GDP.

During the 3rd Caritas Nairobi Annual Farmers’ Day, the Archbishop of Nairobi His Eminence John Cardinal Njue officially launched the Milky Project aimed at the development of sustainable dairy chain.

The project which targets 2, 000 farmers has been funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), will be implemented in partnership with Caritas Italiana, Celim Non-Governmental Organisation and Caritas Nairobi. Milky Project will be implemented over a duration of three years in 4 sub counties in Kiambu County.

In line with the Kiambu County Dairy Strategic plan of promoting sustainable economic growth, the Milky Project seeks to assist farmer improve the quality and volume of milk produced, process and market the milk and enhance the conservation and transformation capabilities of Limuru Archdiocesan Farm.

Speaking during the launch, His Eminence John Cardinal Njue said, “The Church recognizes that agriculture plays a critical role in the development of our people and more so dairy farming, by empowering our farmer’s dignity. Therefore, the Archdiocese of Nairobi will ensure that the implementation of the Milky Project is successful as the project will also make an important contribution towards the realization of food security, a main component of the country’s Big Four Agenda.” 

The Archdiocese of Nairobi Day is a knowledge exchange activity which brings farmers together to share their farming experiences and learn about new developments on agricultural practices. This years’ event under the theme “Sustainable Dairy Value Chain Development” was attended by over 1, 300 farmers from different parts of Kiambu county.

Kiambu County is among the highest milk producers in central Kenya given its higher population of dairy cows compared to other areas in central Kenya. Dairy farming is an integral contributor to the country’s economy as it accounts 14% of the Agricultural GDP.

jane-nimi-agriculture-programme-caritas-nairobi

Jane Nimi: “I Have Something to Call My Own”

Jane Nimi, 40 years, is one person full of life and she has a vision, that of bettering her life. She paints a very vivid picture of a business idea she hopes to bring to life in future. But perhaps what captures my attention is the articulation of the business idea given that Nimi is a class four drop out. I cannot help but wonder, what if she had the opportunity to finish school and attend university? Well that’s for another day.

Nonetheless, about a month ago, Jane Nimi attended a family gathering and was offered an alcoholic drink but she turned it down. Some relatives made fun of her and while at it dared her to carry the drink home which she did. Two week later, the drink was still intact.

By now, you probably are wondering why this story matters. Well, for Nimi turning down an alcoholic drink is a major achievement, she is recovering from alcohol addiction. “It is six months since I stopped consuming alcohol. The journey has been difficult because addiction is an illness,” says Nimi.

For Caritas Nairobi this story matters because it is one about empowerment, transformation and self-reliance. Nimi is a beneficiary of the Agriculture Programme Heifer Exchange Project in Gituamba, Gatundu North. At the time of Nimi’s recruitment into the project in 2016, she was an alcoholic.

Lack of a reliable means to cater for her family needs drove Nimi to alcoholism as a coping mechanism. “Sometimes, a day would pass without having made money from casual work. On lucky days, the most I made was Ksh.300,”says the single mother of 7. One of her children is physically challenged.

More often than not, she has turned to her siblings and old parents for assistance, “My parents live nearby and have really been supportive,” she says adding that having to depend on her parents at an advanced age is somewhat demeaning.
The Heifer Exchange Prorgamme was rolled out in 2012. Under this programme farmers are given heifers on a loan basis which is payable in three years once a farmer starts earning from the cow. Since its launch, the project has enabled low-income households access high yielding cows which were beyond their reach. These families have been able to generate income from milk sales.

For Nimi the story is not any different, she sells 10 litres of milk on average per day at Ksh. 37. “I am assured of an income every day and at least I do not have to rely on handouts for survival. I have something to call my own,” she says adding that it is through the project that she got encouraged to stop taking alcohol.

Nimi learnt about the Heifer Exchange Programme through her local parish. Caritas Nairobi works with Parishes to mobilise and identify beneficiaries. The essence of this project is to reach out to many farmers therefore project beneficiaries commit to passing on the first heifer calved to a new beneficiary in the project. To encourage this, once a farmer passes on the heifer, the loan is halved.

Nimi’s testimony represents other farmers who have received heifers and are making an extra shilling. Beneficiaries have also received training on live stock keeping and fodder management. Nimi who received a Self-Determination award during the 2017 Caritas Nairobi Annual Dinner, plans to better her dairy farming techniques to boost milk production.

My Story of Selling Sukuma Wiki to Owning Rentals

Commonly known as Franco by his friends, Francis Ngige, 55, owns more than 60 single room house units which he rents at between Ksh.1, 55o and Ksh.2, 550.His journey to where he currently is has not been easy one. Initially, his main source of income was from vending vegetables in Juja town. Despite his humble status, Francis managed to save some money at a local bank. His savings would later enable him take out a loan, buy a piece of land and construct his first set of single room units. “The fact that I was out of the market place was a plus. However, the biggest challenge I faced thereafter was the loan payments, the interest rates were too high. I was channelling half of my rental income towards the loan,” says Franco

Franco, a father of three, got wind of the affordable loans self-help groups offer but he did not pay much attention as he thought the loan facilities were only offered to the Catholic faithful since the groups are operated under the umbrella of the Catholic Church. It was not until a friend clarified that self-help groups cater for all without regard to gender, religious or cultural backgrounds. He joined the St. Augustine Self Help Group in 2005. The group enabled him clear the bank loan and build more house units. His most recent project consists of 48 units, which he rents to locals and students from the nearby Jomo Kenyatta University. 

Franco’s children have followed in their father’s footsteps. They are not only members of St. Augustine Self Help Group Juja but are in the process of building rentals, which their father is helping finance. “My children are witnesses of my transformation; this has encouraged them to develop a saving culture,” he says adding that he plans to continue with property development as it is a timeless investment. 

Virginia Wairimu, member PROMIC

Virginia Wairimu, member PROMIC

Virginia Wairimu, member PROMIC

Virginia Wairimu, member PROMIC

Virginia Wairimu is a member PROMIC, she sees the world from a different perspective that that of assisting people and mentoring them to be better persons in the community. With no young children in her house to cater for anymore, Wairumu now helps others wherever and whenever possible to meet their needs.

 Wairimu joined PROMIC in 2009 where she started saving Ksh100 with the Waithaka Karoli Lwanga group. With time she had saved Ksh20,000 and was able to acquire a loan three times her saving which she used to construct two rental houses in her compound. “The income from these houses has been helpful to me particularly financing my hospital bill,” says a jovial Wairimu.

Soon after joining PROMIC, Wairimu was diagnosed with Arthritis. The hospital bill sky- rocketed within months and she needed constant funds to finance the treatment. Despite the illness, she was able to finish repaying the loan as well as continue saving. Soon after, she was able to take up a second loan of Ksh70, 000, which she used to finance the construction of two additional rentals.

It is in one of these houses that he has hosted a tenant for the past months as he is not able to raise enough money to pay the rent. Wairimu feels that helping other people in time of need is a fundamental requirement to humanity. She says that when she was sick, her house hosted many priests, small Christian community members, friends and relatives who prayed with her and also contributed towards the hospital bill.

“Since I started contributing my 10% regularly, I have seen God work His Miracles in me”, confesses Wairimu adding that acts of charity towards other people in the community ever and always come back to us in different forms. Additionally, she says that one can never lack because of helping others.

“I now Own a Hybrid Cow” Samuel Mwangi, 60, in Hawatathi, Gatundu North.

“The Kiambu Dairy Project is transforming the dairy industry at the community level. Farmers are empowered with skills and resources, which enable them to become independent. As a beneficiary of this project I can confidently say that Caritas Nairobi is enabling me realise my dream of large-scale dairy farming.

I am a small- scale farmer practising mix farming. I generate income from selling my farm produce mostly milk and tea. From these, I generate between Ksh.2, 000 and Ksh.4, 000 per month. These earning are meagre, as I am barely able to cater for my needs.

At most, my cow only produces 6 litres of milk per day from which I sell 4 litres at Ksh.25 Shillings per litre. My desire has always been to venture into large-scale dairy farming, but my income cannot afford ,e a hybrid cow that can produce more milk and also calve hybrids. When I learnt about the Caritas Nairobi Artificial Insemination project, I felt relieved because with their assistance, my dream will not be farfetched.

I joined a farmers group and towards the end of August last year, my cow was serviced. The heifer was calved this year. The Caritas Nairobi project has truly renewed my hopes, I am sure that eventually I will be able to produce milk on a large scale. Additionally, the aspect of the farmers groups ensures the sustainability and it places farmers at a higher level to market for supply and negotiate for better prices.”