Nicholas Waitathu @PeopleDailyKe
Kenya is experiencing an influx in imported milk from Uganda which threatens to hurt local farmers.
Dairy industry experts say for the last one-year milk products from Uganda have increased in the local market by upwards of five per cent, warning that such imports would soon flood the market unless regulated.
Governors have also raised alarm over increasing imports of milk products from the neighbouring country, saying the trend signals a big threat to local products in terms of prices.
Muthomi Njuki, Tharaka Nithi Governor said the products sell cheaply in Kenya due to the low cost of production in Uganda.
“Uganda enjoys a low cost of production compared to Kenya thus making Uganda dairy products cheap. Equally, the landlocked country enjoys abundant raw materials for production of animal feeds such as seed cotton cake thus lowering cost of production,” he said.
Njuki made the remarks during the launch of a new report –Africa Sustainable Livestock 2050 funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in Nairobi.
The report encourages governments to think beyond livestock today, for the people of tomorrow. Representing the Council of Governors, Njuki said the national government needs to regulate the inflow of dairy products from Uganda with a view to protecting local farmers.
He also advised that the government provides incentives to local investors in the animal feeds industry. High prices of local dairy products follow inadequate and expensive animal feeds.
Kenya Dairy Board Managing Director Margaret Kibogy said although Kenya is a leader in milk production it is still not self-sufficient due to rising consumption fuelled by improving incomes and urbanisation.
“Every month consumers in the formal market drink 75 million litres and demand is growing owing to the expansion of middle class and rural-urban migration,” she said.
Data shows that out of 5.2 billion litres produced annually, 1.8 billion litres are consumed at the house household level while 635 million litres were processed in 2018 production year, an increase of 7.4 per cent from 591 million litres in 2017.
Stakeholders, however, warn that milk production is likely to take a beating due to the diminishing land, population increase, effects of climate change and low cow productivity.
Since December, milk production has been dropping following the drought that ravaged the country to end of April.
Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai said Kenya has the highest milk consumption per person per year in Africa, though value chain players doubt whether current production will sustain the growing demand.
He explained yesterday that milk consumption per person per year stand at 110 litres, an increase from 80 litres for the last decade. The closest to Kenya in terms of consumption in South Africa and Uganda at 90 litres and 60 litres respectively.
Kimtai said the high consumption is being driven by increased urbanisation and growing middle class.
And the government plans to increase the consumption to 220 litres per person per year in the next 11 years as outlined in Vision 2030 blueprint.