, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Faster development in the dairy sector has been hampered by inconsistent milk production, quality and low consumption of dairy products in the last eight years, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
And now an industry player is urging the government to consider improvement in areas such as infrastructure and climate change management to help reduce the quality degradation of milk.
Sameer Agriculture and Livestock Limited Managing Director Anand Gaggar says although milk costs have tripled since 2006, the price range is similar to other countries globally.
“The need now is to improve on the low productivity and poor infrastructure.
The milk is there but we are not able to collect because of poor roads and rains which also lead to quality degradation of milk,” he said.
The dairy industry is the single largest commodity in the agricultural sub-sector contributing over 14 percent of the agricultural Gross Domestic Product and four percent of total GDP.
On her part, Agriculture Principal Secretary Sicily Kariuki says population growth, urbanisation and increased purchasing power are expected to drive this increase in consumption of milk and dairy products in the country.
Speaking at the launch of the 10th African Dairy Conference and Exhibition (AfDa), Kariuki said the conference will help address strategies to boost dairy production into the growing industry as it comes at a time when there is renewed international interest in the dairy sector from global firms.
“Although milk consumption in Kenya is among the highest in the region, approximated at 80 to 100 litres per capita per year, it is still far below the developed dairy economies at an average consumption of 200 litres per capita per year. There is potential to double the annual dairy consumption if Kenyans are educated on the health benefits of dairy,” she said.
“I call on all Kenyans to attend the AfDa in order to appreciate the variety of dairy products that are available in the market and how they can be used to complement other foods into their diets and improve their lifestyle.”
Kariuki adds that through the joint efforts by the government, the Kenya Dairy Board and the Kenya Dairy Processors Association, additional processing capacity has increase from 2.9 million litres per day in 2010 to the current 3.5 million litres per day.
“I urge more dairy cooperative societies to tap into the immense opportunities in the dairy processing sector to boost the fortunes of their members. The government recognizes that agriculture is one of the key sectors that will drive the growth of the national economy and create jobs for the youth,” she advocated.
It is estimated that milk production sustains about 1.8 million small-scale farmers who account for 90 per cent of the country’s total milk production and offers direct employment to more than 500,000 people along the milk marketing chain and an additional 750,000 in related service industry.