Kenya: Farmers Pour Out Milk Over Low Prices and Lack of Access to Markets

12 December 2019

Farmers in Kanjuiri, Nyandarua, are pouring out milk because of poor prices and lack of market as roads remain impassable due to heavy rains.

A number of farmers who spoke to the Nation said they were considering abandoning dairy farming because milk was no longer profitable.

SH16 PER LITRE

"Yesterday, I poured out over 200 litres of milk for lack of market. Those whom I am supplying are buying it for as low as Sh16 per litre.

"I am spending heavily on animal feeds, yet the returns are lower than the production costs," said a farmer who also blamed milk processing companies for taking advantage of the situation.

He added that the situation had forced him to dismiss some of the workers at his farm, adding that he was contemplating selling his 17 dairy cows.

Prices of milk have dropped drastically over the past two months. Wednesday, Laikipia and Nyandarua county governments promised to come up with interventions to help dairy farmers reduce the cost of milk production.

In Laikipia, Agriculture and Livestock CEC Lucy Murugi urged dairy farmers to embrace new farming techniques, such as value addition and lowering the cost of production, for better earnings.

Dr Murugi asked farmers to use locally available animal food supplements to ease the burden of fully relying on commercial feeds.

"Currently, milk prices have dropped drastically to as low as Sh17 per litre due to oversupply in the market yet the production cost of the same litre of milk is Sh28," she said.

In Nyandarua, the county government is set to start making protein animal feeds from insects and worms in a bid to encourage farmers to make feeds at home to reduce the cost of milk production and maximise profits.

According to Agriculture and Livestock CEC James Karitu, the county will partner with United States International University Africa (USIU) and the Canadian Government in production of animal feeds fortifying agents from insects and worms.

"The county government, in partnership with the Canadian Government and USIU, is setting up a project at Silanga to start producing proteins for animal feeds from insects and worms," said Dr Karitu.

"Farmers are being sensitised on the need to produce their own feeds instead of relying on costly commercial feeds that are partly to blame for the high cost of production.

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