Vijabiz Dairy Value Chain-Kilifi County

A market for Bamba’s dairy farmers in Kilifi county: Wazo Jema group’s success story: …

  • The Wazo Jema Youth Group started working in the dairy sector with the help of the Vijabiz project with the intention to make an income and to support local dairy farmers. They provide a market for these farmers to sell their milk, which they then process, test and sell.
  • Today, as part of its achievements, the group also trains farmers on crossbreeding, milk handling and finding markets for their milk. The success achieved by Wazo Jema serves as motivation and learning ground for other groups and youth in the Coast region.

The Wazo Jema Youth Group is situated in the remote Bamba ward in Kilifi county in the south  of Kenya. Wazo Jema (which means “a good idea”) started in February 2016 and counts a total of ten members (four women and six men).

Before, Bamba’s dairy farmers had no market to sell their raw milk.  The previous main buyer, a company from Nairobi, had withdrawn from the coastal region, and large volumes of milk were getting spoilt every day.

But true to their name,  the group  the Wazo Jema Youth Group came up with an idea-forming a dairy processing and marketing unit for the region,a move that gave hope to many farmers in the area.


Between 2015 and 2016, milk production in the Bamba area was between 1500 and 2000 litres per day.

This decreased to about 400 litres as a result of the drought between 2016 and 2017 when 80% of the cows died.

With the Bamba region experiencing severe droughts, and increasingly so due to climate change, It became harder and harder to keep a profitable dairy business going even though there is a demand for dairy products within and beyond the area.

In addition, farmers faced a lack of modern dairy facilities and equipment, poor infrastructure, a lack of expertise in the area and unstable sources of power.


There was a sigh of relief- an initiative that made all the above challenges easier to manage-the right knowledge. Through the joint trainings by Ustadi Foundation and CTA in early 2019, the Wazo Jema group learnt about entrepreneurial skills – like bookkeeping, which helped for better business management.

The ICT skills acquired from the trainings enabled the group to adopt modern marketing strategies.

With the support of CTA and Ustadi, Wazo Jema group got connected to the Vijabiz project .

Initially, the Wazo  youth were not active in the dairy industry  even though they grew up in an area where livestock keeping is part of the culture, the nature of the harsh environment, blinded them from finding vast areas of land available for livestock grazing.

Another  advantage at  hand was also the high unemployment rate in both the formal and informal sectors encouraged the youth to look towards agriculture.

“With the help of Ustadi, we acquired skills on dairy project management. The main reason behind this was to uplift the economic wellbeing of the community by creating a market for milk. Now the Wazo Jema Youth Group manages the only dairy processing unit in Bamba community and sells affordable processed milk products,

the group also trains farmers on crossbreeding, milk handling and finding markets for their milk. It helps that in Bamba raw milk is readily available and there is a trusting relationship between the group members and the farmers, which allows the business to run smoothly,

Wazo Jema collects 100 liters of unpasteurised milk every day from individual farmers and dairy cooperatives, which we process to become 70 liters of yoghurt and 30 liters of mala (fermented milk),

farmers do not have the time to pasteurise their raw products, but the youth group does. We have testing equipment to assess the quality of the milk. We package and sell these products to local residents in the market and to local schools. Sales come easily, since there is a high demand for dairy products. This has enabled members to set up a business despite the stiff competition from established firms,”-Suleiman Jefwa,WAZO JEMA GROUP

How Vijabiz project helped Wazo Jema to overcome tradition obstacles to a thriving diary business…

Engaging youth groups in agribusiness and the dairy value chain was crucial  as its positive results courtesy of the project made an impressive achievement in solving the unemployment in the Bamba region and beyond to a huge extent.

However. there are a number of challenges that need to be overcome:

Youth in Bamba were intent on engaging in non-agricultural activities because of the harsh climatic conditions. Further, many were put off by the idea of dairy farming because they have been exposed to traditional dairy farming approaches.

These approaches included the rearing of indigenous cow breeds that produce less than five litres of milk per day which yields no economic benefits.

At the same time, livestock ownership was often restricted to the rich and elderly. Even though Interactions with the county government and other organisations have been providing the group with extension services, motivating more youth to engage in agribusiness activities, a lack of proper equipment, high costs of production, the perishability of dairy products and a lack of funds were  major challenges.

But thanks to Vijabiz, active recruitment and information sharing by Wazo Jema group leaders allowed the group to reach more farmers and increase the amount of milk we buy to 100 litres per day.

“We are motivated to go far because the trainings have taken us from thinking of small-scale business to become competitive business people. Today, we can sell our products online through Facebook, get linkages to markets, keep our records well and mentor our fellow youths. This way, those who were left out now can be included.”-Suleiman Jefwa, WAZO JEMA Group

Capacity building through Vijabiz, including entrepreneurship training at Kibarani, empowered the group to understand how to develop a successful dairy business while managing the dynamics in the group.

USTADI’s ICT training also enabled Wazo Jema to market its products online through Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp groups.

This has seen an increase in sales as the group continues to advance its online skills to market the group’s products.