The gross revenue from milk production in Kenya has improved by three (3) per cent over the last five years an indication that the price of milk has improved.
Speaking in Nairobi during the launch of the Report on the cost of milk production in the country in the year 2021, the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Peter Munya, said the improvement is currently much higher than the reported three (3) per cent indicated in survey whose data was collected in 2019.
“This was prior to the interventions undertaken by the Ministry in January 2020 to improve and stabilize milk production prices in the Country. The Report also reveals an increase in the volume of raw milk marketed through organized farmer groups such as cooperatives,” added Munya
The CS said dairy farming in Kenya is profitable with average profitability per litre produced rising to an average of Sh16.20 in 2019, at a time when other farm revenues such as sale of livestock and manure were considered.
“This profitability should excite and motivate farmers and potential investors to increase investment in milk production,” stated Munya.
He at the same time noted that the rise in production and revenue shows that the Country is making a headway in managing the cost of milk production, adding that a lot more needs to be done to make the industry more competitive regionally and globally.
According to the Report which was commissioned by the Kenya Dairy Board and undertaken by Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, shows that on average, a dairy farmer in 2019 earned milk profits of Sh12.20 per litre compared to Sh4.20 in 2014.
This is an indication that profitability varied with production system, highest for semi-zero grazers at Sh14.27 per litre, and lowest for zero grazers at Sh8.57 per litre.
In his remarks regarding the findings of the Report, the CS said, while the cost of milk production remains high at an average total cost of Sh23.30 per litre for zero grazers, at Sh23.00 for semi-zero grazers, and at Sh17.24 for open grazers, the average cost of producing milk declined by 20 per cent over the last five years.
Munya, however, attributed poor feeding of dairy herds as the main challenge facing livestock farmers, which he said contributed to the decline on herd sizes per farm over the last five years, an issue he said, undermines the capacity of the country to be self- sufficient in milk and dairy products.
The CS who thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for supporting dairy industry, urged farmers, the youth and potential investors to invest in dairy farming as it is a profitable enterprise.
“If we, do it right, taking into account the lessons of this study, we will succeed and transform rural livelihoods and the entire country through dairy farming,” added Munya.
Speaking during the launch the Kenya Dairy Board Managing Director, Margaret Kibogy, thanked the government for supporting the dairy farmers and encouraged them to address the challenges as per the Report findings, especially on livestock feeding, advising them to use the right fodder.
Kibogy said despite the Covid-19 pandemic the dairy industry has shown a lot of resilience and thus the improvement of the dairy board performance.
“We only noted a lot of household consumption, especially when the schools were closed due to the pandemic,” said Kibogy.
Speaking on behalf of farmers, Beatrice Kimeng’ch from Uasin Gishu County encouraged farmers to keep records and urged the government to come up with a sensitization program to educate farmers on record keeping to enable them improve their production and be able to provide accurate information to the researchers and Livestock officers.
She also discouraged farmers from keeping large number of herds and instead concentrate with a few that they can afford to feed well.
Mrs Kimeng’ch also encouraged farmers to harvest water during the rainy season for use during the drought season.
By Catherine Muindi