KENYA – The leading dairy processing company in East Africa, Brookside Dairy Limited has announced it would pay an additional shilling for every kilo of raw milk supplied to it from Wednesday, 1 April to cushion dairy farmers against the economic effects of coronavirus.

The increase will see the processor pay up to Sh36 per kilo, a relief  to farmers at a time businesses are re-evaluating strategy to survive the impact of  coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted the lives of millions of people and killed thousands of worldwide.

“As the country implements far-reaching measures to contain the coronavirus and its threats to the economy, and especially agriculture, we decided to increase farm-gate prices of milk that will not only boost the dairy farming businesses but also help minimise the negative financial impacts of the current Covid-19, which is also affecting the dairy farming community,” said Brookside Dairy Director of Milk Procurement and Manufacturing, John Gethi in a statement.

The latest price increase comes less than two months after the processor, who controls 40 per cent of the national raw milk market, effected a Sh7 per kilo increase in prices to Ksh.35.

The new rate gives Brookside an edge as it is now the highest paying processor in Kenya, after the government directed State-owned New KCC to pay its farmers Sh33 per kilo.

Mr Gethi told farmers to also use the extra income to invest in animal feed management for their livestock.

“The new prices are also an incentive to our farmers to invest in climate-smart dairy practices, such as the establishment of fodder crops and pasture with the expected commencement of the long rain season,” he added.

He said Brookside Dairy will continue to buy all milk supplied to it by its contracted farmers, besides providing guaranteed payments.

Brookside, who have an installed processing capacity of 1.5 million litres of milk per day, operates over 60 raw milk cooling stations in 27 counties.

Mr Gethi further called on farmers to seek the services of veterinary officers especially at this time when many cows are recovering from the recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.

He emphasised the role of dairy co-operatives in the collection and transport of milk along the value chain, saying farmers stand to benefit from economies of scale.

“We encourage dairy farmers to join co-operatives to benefit from the pricing incentives. They are a huge boost to the formal milk marketing channels,” he added.