27 June 2012

Kenya: Dairy Board Calls for Cheaper Milk

Nairobi — The Kenya Dairy Board has urged milk processing companies to lower retail prices as the supply of milk continues to stabilize in the country.

The Board's Managing Director Machira Gichohi said the recent spell of rains had led to increased supply of milk, although he acknowledged that there was still stiff competition among processors for the purchase of milk from the farmers.

"We have seen these prices at the shelves coming down and we as the board expect to see this more and we really encourage the key stakeholders to lower prices, although this is a liberalised market, "said Gichohi.

He pointed out that among key challenges in the industry is that farmers continue to rely on rain-fed production in addition to poor infrastructure which hinders transportation to the factories.

"Milk is a product that gets spoiled very quickly, and the problem is that a lot of milk is being produced in the rural areas where most of the roads are not very good, "he said.

Livestock Ministry's Senior Deputy Secretary Margaret Nyandong' says with the current favorable weather conditions, the ministry is also putting up measures to ensure there is no milk glut like the one experienced in 2010.

"The industry is quite seasonal, with milk supply being affected during the dry period, followed by the rainy season when there is excess supply of milk from the farmers. However I assure the country that there is enough stock in the country,"Nyandong' said

The country experienced a 30 percent drop in milk production between January and April this year due to prolonged drought which led prices to shoot up by over 50 percent.

They spoke at the launch of a Sh50 million campaign to drive consumption of milk in the country. It is organised by the Kenya Dairy Processors Association, whose chairman Dr Korir Lang'at said the campaign is expected to last six months.

The annual milk production currently stands at an estimated 4.8 million litres.

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