KENYA – The Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) has proposed the enactment of a strong regulatory framework in the country’s dairy sector at both national and county levels to ensure milk and milk product enterprises comply with quality and safety requirements.
Speaking during the drafting of the dairy industry bill 2023, KDB Managing Director, Dr. Margaret Kibogy, noted that the framework would help protect consumers, enhance private sector participation, boost investment, and promote trade in the dairy industry, not just in Kenya, but in the external markets as well.
Previously, Kenya, as a member of the international community, had to align its regulations with global international standards for agricultural trade arrangements as enshrined under World Trade Organization, which was ratified in 1995.
“The current legislation regulating the dairy subsector enacted in 1958 was not in harmony with modern farming practices and technological advancements and recognized cow milk only; The Draft Dairy Industry Bill, 2023 now also gives recognition to sheep, goat, and camel milk,” Dr Margaret noted.
According to the Managing Director, the proposed bill is aimed at improving the productivity and competitiveness of dairy products, boosting, and increasing the domestic dairy market, and transforming the dairy industry into a net exporter to the regional and global markets.
“The law will be geared towards encouraging locals to venture into commercial dairy farming, establishing legal backing for the dairy value-addition chain, and giving way to the establishment of a corporation to coordinate activities in the sector.”
Dr Kibogy added that milk which is primarily produced by smallholder dairy farmers under three main production systems was in high demand mainly due to population growth, increasing urbanization, and rising incomes.
She said that to meet this high demand, the government had given priority to the national strategic plans such as the Dairy Master Plan to guide the development of the dairy sector up to 2030.
In addition, she explained that the sanitary and phytosanitary standards agreement relates to regulations around labeling requirements, nutrition claims and concerns, and quality and packaging regulations.
Mary highlighted that about 1.8 million smallholder farmers have their livelihoods pegged on dairy production with the sector currently contributing to four percent of the national GDP.
She appreciated the fact that Kenya’s dairy industry had been growing at an estimated rate of five percent annually with milk production currently standing at 5.2 billion litres per year.
According to the 2020 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics report, the consumption of milk and its related products had the highest per capita consumption (93.3 kilos) in Kenya, followed by maize (69.5kgs), wheat (41.3kgs) and vegetables (32.6kgs).