Dairy industry falls on tough times as virus cuts deliveries
Friday, April 9th, 2021
Wycliff Kipsang @wsang08
The dairy sector is reeling from the effects of Covid-19 pandemic with a drastic drop in milk deliveries to dairy co-operatives and processors being experienced.
Data from Kenya Dairy Board indicates the pandemic has hit the sector hard, registering up to 36 per cent decline in deliveries since March despite availability of pasture and water due to good weather witnessed this year.
A spot check of dairy co-operatives in the North Rift region by Business Hub shows that there was a sharp decline in milk deliveries by their members since March when Kenya reported first Covid-19 case.
Abraham Rugut, Kabiyet Dairies Co-operative chair said before Covid was reported, they used to collect 19,000 litres of milk daily but this has dropped to about 7,000 although it has now gone up to 9,000 litres.
“Most farmers fear to bring their milk to most dairies since most lack equipment such as thermo-guns,” he said.
Rugut spoke when Heifer International donated PPES and other equipment to over 24 dairy co-operatives in seven counties that included Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Embu and Meru.
“We want to appeal to the government to consider supporting our dairy processors to purchase more milk by mopping up excess milk as part of measures to ensure that the sector recovers,” added Rugut, who is also the Nandi County Dairy Co-operative Union chairman.
Other farmers like Alice Kiprono who supplies milk to Tuiyoluk Dairies Farmers’ Co-operative Society in Moiben, Uasin Gishu County, said she had been forced to reduce the amount of milk she supplies to the co-operative which has recorded a drop in milk deliveries from 3,000 litres to 1,500 litres daily.
“I get 13 litres daily from two cows. I take 10 litres to dairies then the rest we consume at home since my children are at home due to closure of schools,” she said.
Kenya Dairy Board Managing director Margaret Kibogy disclosed that there has been a drop in terms of milk coming from the farm to the formal sector as more milk is consumed back at the various homes following closure of learning institutions in March.
Kibogy some products such as yoghurt and cheese witnessed drop in sales owing to closure of schools and other institutions.