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Camel milk production in Isiolo County

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Women in
Isiolo County are venturing and investing into the male dominated business of
livestock keeping.
Galesa Self Help Group are making a
kill from the sale of camel milk.

Sadia Mohamed med the secretary says the group has 25 women from different villages and wards from Isiolo.

Mohammed said they sell milk to a camel milk cooperative in Isiolo at Sh100 and currently we are producing 10 litres of milk per day.

“We also buy milk from other camel keepers at Sh70 per litre. From the proceeds we pay the person that takes care of the camels then we share the rest,” she says.

Mohammed says they would want to have a facility with a refrigerator and milk cooler to store their milk.

“We want to one day package the camel milk and sell to supermarkets within Isiolo and even Nairobi. This will keep off traders who buy the camel milk at Sh100 and sell in Nairobi at Sh150- Sh180,” she says.

Kosgei said prior to group formation, members used to buy and sell camel milk within
Isiolo town. “Most of the milk would get spoiled and the group members would
get losses sometime earning little income which was used for household
expenses. The group was recruited in a VSF (veterinarian sans frontier Swiss)
Program in 2014 and was given 25 young camels,” he says.

He further explained
that the group leadership was dominated by male and women in the group could
not make any significant contribution.

“The male official’s
later embezzled their contributions, left the group and the group fell apart.
The women were frustrated and almost gave up. SNV team showed up in June 2017
at a crucial time when the group was focused on rejuvenating and reorganizing
itself strategically to move forward after a major down fall,” he said.

Chala Said, a member of Galesa women group said  when she attended PROFIT training I was buying
and selling milk, most of it was getting spoiled and I was not earning much.
But after the training I decided to save and do something profitable.

“I bought a sheep at Sh1, 500 with my savings and within a short time
the flock started expanding. In September 2018, my son was send home due to
lack of school fees and my husband did not have any money. He was so worried
because this is the last term and the students are expecting their exams soon. I
knew I could provide a solution. I took one sheep and one lamb to the market
negotiated for a good price and sold both for Sh5, 800 and send my son back to
school. Since then my Husband is so proud of me,” said Said.

Fatuma Guyo, a member of the group the 10 litres
plastic containers they sell milk with is becoming a challenge as it cannot
store milk for long.

“Even health officers are against the plastic
containers. If we have the resources we would be buy copper coated milk
containers which are more hygienic and can store milk for longer,” says Guyo.

David Kosgei a capacity development advisor from SNV,
a non-governmental organisation from Netherlands said the group started as an initiative of poor and vulnerable
women with a membership of 25 members with seven men and 18 women.

SNV is based in Meru and Isiolo Counties and was
consulted by Agra in 2017.

Kosgei said they provided capacity building on
agribusiness module, budgeting, saving and governance for the members.

“We also trained them on financial linkage as a
result of bringing in various stakeholders in finance, suppliers and also
markets.  We are working closely with the
County Government which is supporting the livestock keepers in pasture
management,” he said.

Kosgei added that they have been able to link them
with a financial bank that is Sheria Compliant and friendly to the women many
of whom are from the Muslim Community.  

“The power of saving is very important. They have
been able to increase in savings and start other small business,” he said.



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