Kenya registers decline in milk production, first-time in three years

KENYA – Kenya’s milk production in 2020 declined marginally by 0.95% to hit 679 million litres, down from 685 million litres in 2019.

The Kenya Dairy Board has indicated that this is the first-time production of milk in the country has dropped in the last three years, on account of unstable weather that led to insufficient feed.

To this end the dairy regulator has advised farmers to conserve feeds following alerts of dry weather, which may hurt farming in 2021, reports Business Daily.

“There was a small decline last year, but we are hopeful that this can be corrected if farmers preserve feeds and cut reliance on open field grazing,” said Margaret Kibogy, managing director KDB.

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Ms Kibogy said the regulator was monitoring the situation following the forecast of a La Nina period in the first quarter of the year.

“We are keenly following up to see the interventions that we can come up with as a sector if at all the country will experience the dry period as projected,” she said.

The last month of the year registered an output of 62 million litres, levels below the ones attained in the corresponding period in 2019 which was 68 million litres.

The decline was not only witnessed in the last month of the year but also throughout the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic which disrupted the market, foot and mouth disease being experienced in some counties and the cold weather season.

“There was a small decline last year, but we are hopeful that this can be corrected if farmers preserve feeds and cut reliance on open field grazing.”

Managing Director Kenya Dairy Board – Margaret Kibogy

In August, the government reported that milk volumes had declined by 36% reaching 42 million litres per month from 63 million litres per month.

With a national monthly demand of 54 million litres, the country experienced a deficit of 12 million litres.

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To meet the gap, the government directed new–KCC to release 1, 000 metric tonnes of milk powder, an equivalent of one million litres of milk to processors to convert it into raw milk. 

With the shortage, consumer prices of milk have risen to Ksh55 for a 500ml packet of long life milk from Ksh50, with processors citing low volumes from farmers.

The regulator pointed out that the current prices will prevail because of higher producer cost that processors are paying farmers.

Processors increased the producer price of raw milk since March last year, following a decline in supply.

For instance, Brookside a privately owned processor is paying 17 percent more for a litre of raw milk, which pushed the cost to Ksh40 for a chilled commodity delivered at the firm in Ruiru. Similarly, New KCC increased its price from Ksh33 per litre to Ksh42.

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