Dairy farmers soured by milk from Uganda

Dairy farmers in the North Rift want Parliament and the Kenya Dairy Board to enact measures to check the influx of cheap milk import from neighbouring countries.

Dairy farmers in the North Rift want Parliament and the Kenya Dairy Board to enact measures to check the influx of cheap milk imports from neighbouring countries.

The farmers, speaking in Kitale, complained that the influx was ruining their livelihoods and destroying the local dairy sector.

Kenya National Federation of Farmers Secretary General Tom Nyagechaga said the imports had caused the price of raw milk to fall despite high production after the short rains.

"There is a significant increase of Ugandan milk in the Kenyan market mainly driven by lower production costs in Uganda, which allows processors to sell their products at low prices. We are worried that its dominance will hurt our dairy farming," said Mr Nyagechaga.

Processors in Uganda buy raw milk from farmers for as low as Sh10 per litre compared to firms in Kenya, which offer between Sh25 and Sh30 per litre.

"We recognise the spirit of the East African Community Common Market Protocol but there is need for an intervention," said Nyagechaga.

The farmers commended the Government for pumping money into New KCC factories, saying the additional funds meant the company would buy more milk.

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"The situation would have been worse were it not the modernisation programme at New KCC," said Nyagechaga.

William Kimosong, a dairy farmer from Kaplamai, said the Strategic Food Reserve should allocate more money to the company to enable it to produce more powder milk and other dairy products.

"This will help stabilise local prices," said Mr Kimosong.

Kenya produces about 5.2 billion litres of milk annually. Of this, five per cent is exported to Tanzania, Uganda and the Middle East, while the rest is consumed locally.

The farmers urged the State to explore markets in Zambia and Central Africa.

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Kenya National Federation of FarmersDairy farmersKenya Dairy Board