, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 23 – The eleventh African Dairy Conference and exhibition kicked off Wednesday at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
The three day conference will see a convergence of 120 local and foreign firms which consist of 500 delegates from 42 countries come together.
It will be an opportunity for Kenya to exhibit the steps it has taken to have its small scale farmers make a multi billion industry based on milk production.
According to Eastern and Southern African Dairy Association (ESADA) who are the organisers, the conference will also offer networking opportunities for industry players such as farmers, heads of co-operatives and manufacturers of equipment among others.
ESADA’s Chairman Kiprui Arap Langat said that the conference’s participants would showcase the individual technologies they use to increase the amount of milk they produce.
“At the conference, attendants will also showcase the modern retailing processes they use,” he added.
It will also see issues such as taxation on Capital equipment -which has been termed as a hindrance to the expansion of the dairy industry- being discussed.
“Local dairy stakeholders will use the conference to lobby for the uptake of modern technology at all levels in order to enhance the production of milk which will enable Kenya to meet the ever growing demand for milk products across East Africa and the COMESA Market.”
And that is not all.
According to ESADA, the conference will also be used to get more farmers to come together and form Co-operatives. This, according to the Organization, will enable farmers process milk directly instead of transporting and storing it as they wait processing.
“Kenya produces five billion litres of milk but only 55 percent to processors. The rest is sold at throw-away away prices to middlemen who sell them from door to door hence affecting the quality of milk,” Chief Executive Officer of ESADA Peter Ngaruiya said.
The conference will also give Co-operatives a chance to experience the importance of cooling plants which will be showcased at the conference, which is hoped will lure them into buy the equipment.
School going children are also set to benefit if everything goes well. According to Langat, the school milk programme will be re-introduced. This is in a bid to create a milk drinking generation which would ensure the demand for milk continues to grow in Kenya.
The conference, which will also showcase meat, poultry and seafood products, will be officially opened by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed.