KENYA – Kenya’s Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mithika Linturi have unveiled ambitious government plans to boost the country’s dairy sector.
Linturi announced that the government is set to invest in bulk cooling and storage infrastructure to support dairy marketing cooperatives and farmers in the sector.
Milk, being a highly perishable product, requires efficient collection and cooling processes to prevent spoilage. Marketing systems are equally crucial to ensure the commercial viability and profitability of the dairy industry.
To address these challenges, Linturi revealed that every ward in high milk-producing counties will soon be equipped with cooling facilities. The initiative aims to protect farmers against losses and product spoilage, ultimately enhancing their financial stability and ensuring milk quality.
Linturi underscored the significance of the dairy sector, which contributes approximately 15% to the total agricultural sector Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Kenya.
In addition, he noted that the sector plays a pivotal role in the nation’s economy and is vital to achieving the 10% economic growth target outlined in the Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint. With approximately 1.8 million small-scale farmers engaged in dairy farming, it represents a major source of livelihood for many Kenyan families.
“The dairy sub-sector offers employment to over two million people directly or indirectly along the milk marketing chain and accounts for 3.5% of the country’s total GDP share, with smallholder dairy production contributing over 70% of the total milk produced,” Linturi stated.
In alignment with the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), the Kenyan government also plans to implement various interventions in the dairy value chain.
These include increasing milk production per animal, establishing feed centers within cooperatives, setting up dairy hubs offering Business Development Services (BDS) to farmers, and ensuring access to Artificial Insemination (AI) services within dairy farmer cooperative societies.
Additionally, efforts will be made to operationalize milk processing plants for quality improvement, value addition, and capacity-building of dairy hub management and farmers through training and exposure programs.
However, Linturi acknowledged that the dairy sector faces challenges such as climate change, recurring drought, high input costs, low productivity, land size reductions, and production seasonality.
To address these issues, the government will establish an institutional framework to enhance livestock production and marketing while organizing farmers into collectives to facilitate marketing, extension services, and access to financial services.
Additional measures include ensuring access to affordable livestock feeds, establishing cold chain infrastructure, slaughterhouses, and processing factories, supporting disease surveillance activities, and setting up a Livestock Marketing Board and marketing facilities to promote and guide livestock trade.
Abraham Katam, the Principal of DTI, stressed the institute’s role in capacity-building for dairy farmers and appealed to the government to provide more resources and infrastructure to meet the growing demand for training in the country.