Kenya launches new dairy industry regulations aimed to transform the sector

KENYA – The Agriculture ministry of Kenya has introduced the Dairy Industry Regulations, 2021 to streamline the management of the industry, encourage investment and ensure safety of the products in a bid to boost both local and export trade.

The new regulations are in the form of eight sets of directives touching on critical areas such as registration, traceability of produce, compliance, sales contracts and safety standards.

During the launch of the regulations, the Kenya Dairy Board Managing Director Margaret Kibogy said that the laws were necessary as the sector has been rapidly growing at a rate of 5% p.a. in production and that the past regulations could not substantially support the new developments.

To this end she highlighted that milk ATMs, a recent phenomenon in the country that has become widely popular, will be regulated to ensure there was order.

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Also, the regulations provide for requirements for dairy farms, collection centres, milk bars and milk processing establishments including cottages, mini dairies, and processors to meet minimum hygienic conditions for the production of safe and quality milk.

It provides for the safety of dairy products through labeling, examination, calibration, records, storage, and distribution for the value chain actors including dairy farms, collection centers, milk bars, milk dispensers, and processing establishments.

Streamline information access

Further to that, any person who engages in milk production for sale, popularly known as “primary producers”, will require to be registered by their respective county government.

Through this registration, counties will maintain an updated database on the number of farmers, dairy herd data, and milk production.

The consolidated information from the counties will inform planning and decision-making at the national level.

Farmers have also been given the needed shot in the arm with the ministry fixing the minimum price of unchilled raw milk at Sh33 per litre. Buyers will pay a farm gate price of Sh35 per litre of chilled milk and Sh37 for a litre of pasteurised milk.

Concerns over low and fluctuating producer prices have made investments in the sector to be unprofitable, unstable, and uncompetitive.

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The regulations will ensure a guaranteed minimum price on milk sales which will ensure that their investment in dairy farming gives favourable returns throughout the year.

Kenya’s dairy production has been growing at 5% per annum

Kenya Dairy Board Managing Director – Margaret Kibogy

Going forward the Ministry through the Board will conduct frequent studies and consultations on the cost of milk production to inform biannual milk pricing reviews.

Producer groups and entities shall further disclose monthly payout prices and deductions made to determine farm gate prices and have been urged not to introduce extra costs that may diminish the profit margins for farmers.

On the other hand, Dairy Business Operators will submit monthly returns on processed milk and the quantities produced to the County Government or the Board for policy and investment decisions.

By availing the information, the regulation is aimed at enhancing consumer protection and safety of dairy produce, improving access to information on marketed dairy produce, and providing a mechanism for tracing and recall of dairy produce.

It shall apply to the production, collection, transportation, processing, distribution, and retail of dairy produce.

Regulate trade both locally and with other countries

Also among the new regulations is the milk sales contract regulations, which set out minimum requirements that farmers get into with milk buyers including dairy processors.

Dairy farmers and producer groups have in the past entered into weak and inadequate contracts with buyers.

The regulations are also aimed at protecting Kenya’s dairy industry against unfair trade practices, or competition and dumping, and further support government efforts to guarantee food security and self-sufficiency.

The regulations provide the procedure for importing or exporting dairy products and ensure that they meet the relevant standards.

It further takes into consideration the existence of treaties and cross-border trade agreements across nations.

The regulations have been developed in conjunction with the county governments who will lead in the implementation as agriculture is devolved.

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