By Getrude Matayo
The government of Kenya could be forced to import processed milk products following a monthly drop in the supply from 63.4 million liters in January to 40.2 million liters in June 2020.
Agriculture CS Peter Munya has attributed the reduction to the Covid-19 pandemic which has disrupted the market, foot, and mouth disease being experienced in some counties, and the cold weather season.
According to CS Peter Munya, livestock, fisheries, and cooperatives blamed the shortages of raw milk sold to processors by farmers on a drastic drop in farm production and sale of raw milk in the informal sector.
He spoke at a Nairobi hotel yesterday during a brief on the impact of Covid-19 on the dairy industry in the country.
“We are in distress. If this situation continues, we shall be forced to import milk products which we do not want to” Said CS Munya
Munya called on farmers to intensify the production of milk and ensure that the milk is marked formally to sustain more than 750,000 jobs created by the sector.
“The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the milk market following the closure of schools and hotels hence a laxity from farmers in producing milk,” CS said
CS Munya said the foot and mouth disease is also a contributor to the drop in production. The milk industry is in distress as processers do not have sufficient milk and are not able to satisfy the market.
A review by the board showed Kenya faced raw milk oversupply towards the end of last year and early this year which combined with milk imports from East Africa Community halved the price of raw milk paid to farmers
“The national monthly demand for milk stands at 54 million liters hence a deficit of 12 million. Kenya has one of the biggest dairy sectors in Africa producing 5.2 billion liters per annum and consumes everything it produces,” he said.
To meet the deficit, CS Munya has directed new KCC to release 1, 000 metric tons of milk powder, an equivalent of one million liters of milk to processors to convert it into raw milk.
Despite the government imposing a 10 percent on milk imports to protect local farmers and setting a minimum price for raw milk processors to pay farmers, supply has continued to drop.
Currently, dairy milk processors have a stock of milk powder that can only last the country one month.