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Kenya mulls powder milk importation

By Nicholas Waitathu
Thursday, August 27th, 2020
Milk production. Photo/File
In summary
    • Kibogy said in other years, milk production is normally high during May and June, but the trend has been different this year largely due to cold and disruption of market in terms of animal feeds production and distribution of the same.
    • Various estates and informal markets are grappling with low milk supply due to high consumption of the same at the household level as people continue staying at home due to Covid-19. Demand for long life of milk has  increased while yoghurt and “Mala” have decreased.

Kenya is likely to import powder milk from neighbouring countries to boost local demand, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said yesterday.

He said the country is experiencing reduced milk production since January, a situation, he added, has a lot to do with effects of Covid-19.

“We are experiencing a crisis as processors do not have sufficient raw materials to process milk for the formal market.

We have experienced reduction in milk production for the last seven months largely due to the effects of the Coronavirus,” Munya added.

“If the situation continues, we are likely to resort to imports from  neighbouring countries to meet the deficit,” he said during a forum with dairy sector stakeholders at a Nairobi hotel yesterday.

Major processors

Since January to July milk production in the country has decreased by 33.3 per cent, a situation that has led to major processors apart from New Kenya Co-operative Creameries (NKCC) to experience shortage of powder milk.

Kenya has one of the biggest dairy sectors in Africa producing 5.2 billion litres per annum, with more than half of the same being consumed at the household level.

Munya directed NKCC to release 1,000 tonnes into the market to boost current stocks.  

Early this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the release of Sh1 billion to NKCC to stabilise milk prices and support modernisation of its facilities located in different parts of the country.

Further,  Munya said in addition to milk reduction, livestock farmers in some regions are grappling with foot and mouth disease and the cold weather season.

“We urge counties to intensify vaccination of livestock to the levels required to protect them from contracting transboundary diseases.

I direct the veterinary department to ensure the counties comply,” he added.

But even as the country is likely to resort to imports, Munya warned that the government will institute strict regulations and increased surveillance along the porous borders and final destination markets.

Kenya Dairy Board managing director Margaret Kibogy confirmed milk production has dropped from 63 million litres in January to 42 million litres. 

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