Kajiado farmers push for higher prices of milk

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Kajiado farmers push for higher prices of milk


kibogy

Kenya Dairy Board MD Margaret Kibogy. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Farmers from Sultan Hamud held a peaceful protest last weekend, faulting major milk processors and brokers for low milk prices.
  • The farmers said the Sh30 they get for a liter of raw milk was not enough to cover the transport costs they incur when moving the product to collection centers, with some resorting to boda bodas.
  • They now want the producer price to be increased to between Sh40 and Sh50 per liter— a maximum of 67 percent increase – and milk buying companies be compelled to pay farmers promptly.

Dairy farmers in Kajiado have called for an increase in the producer price of the commodity, saying they are facing unsustainable production costs due to drought.

Farmers from Sultan Hamud held a peaceful protest last weekend, faulting major milk processors and brokers for low milk prices.

The farmers said the Sh30 they get for a liter of raw milk was not enough to cover the transport costs they incur when moving the product to collection centers, with some resorting to boda bodas.

They now want the producer price to be increased to between Sh40 and Sh50 per liter— a maximum of 67 percent increase – and milk buying companies be compelled to pay farmers promptly.

“The cost of milk production is overwhelming farmers. The returns are minimal compared to input, making milk production in this area unsustainable,” said Agnes Masikonde, a dairy farmer.

Kajiado is grappling with limited pasture due to drought, raising the cost of feeds and forcing some farmers to move their herds for long distances in search of pasture.

The Kajiado farmers also want the government to set up milk cooling plants in strategic locations to prevent losses and, therefore, protect their earnings.

The protests come in the wake of a milk shortage countrywide, which has pushed up shelf prices of processed milk by up to Sh8 per half liter packet since the beginning of March.

Supermarkets have been grappling with limited supplies from processors, a move that has seen them suffer stockouts, forcing panicking customers to buy in bulk.

The situation has been made worse by processors not having stocks of powdered milk, which they normally reconstitute into fresh milk when there is a shortage in the country to tame high prices.

Half-liter long-life packets are now going for up to more than Sh60 in western Kenya.

Processors have previously justified increasing prices of milk due to higher producer prices that can be as high as Sh45 for a liter of the commodity.

Last month, the Kenya Dairy Board said there was a possibility of importing the commodity were the shortage to get worse.

The Ministry of Agriculture earlier this month proposed importation due to reduced production linked to harsh weather that has hit pasture.

It said processors could be allowed a one-month window to import UHT and powder milk.

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