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Dairy farming is a $16 billion industry in countries like Canada/COURTESY

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Why dairy farmers should be supported to access markets

NAIROBI, Kenya May 11 – The government has been urged to support dairy farmers in the country in helping them market their products which is highly perishable.

Whereas dairy farming is a vibrant and lucrative enterprise in the country, Animal Health Scientist Jackton Agona said that there is need for the government to protect small-scale farmers who find it difficult to find a ready market.

“Let the government support the farmers in terms of marketing of their products and also put in stringent laws that will protect the small farmer because at times the farmer is losing because milk is a perishable product and needs to get to the market on time,” he said.

According to the Kenya Dairy Board, the State Corporation that regulates, develops and promotes the dairy industry in the country, 70 percent of the milk produced by small-scale farmers is sold raw.

Agona emphasized that the enactment of policies that protect small-scale farmers is what is needed to alleviate their economic power.

“Such policies will ensure that the farmers get the feeds at affordable prices so that the farmer is able to feed the animal to get the milk at the lowest cost possible,” he said.

Kenya is currently guided by four regulations namely: The Dairy Industry Act Cap 336, National Dairy Development Plan Sessional Paper No 5of 2013, KDB strategic plan Final 2017 to 2022 and The Public Health Act Cap242.

Agona said farmers deserve to be empowered due to their input in improving the country’s economic growth.

“Being that a country really consuming a lot of milk and the demand is there and what we just need is to find ways of producing more and more. It is a lucrative marker but it is yet to be expanded,” he said.

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In March, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya launched the Dairy Industry Regulations, 2021, which are aimed at enhancing consumer protection and safety of dairy produce, improving access to information on marketed dairy produce and providing a mechanism for tracing and recall of dairy produce.

In the new regulations, pricing of dairy products will be regulated to ensure that farmers’ investment gives favorable returns.

On Imports and exports, the regulations are aimed at protecting the Kenya dairy Industry against unfair trade practices or competition and dumping and further support govt to guarantee food security and sufficiency.

On dairy produce safety, the regulations aims at enhancing compliance to safety standards, promoting self regulation through adoption of global best practices.

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