Dairy farmers in Kenya to benefit from milk cooler set to be rolled out by the government
Dairy farmers will benefit from a government plan to provide 1,000 cooling machines as part of efforts to enhance sale of quality milk. Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet secretary Willy Bett said in an interview that provision of the machines is in line with the national government’s commitment to tame gaps in the dairy sector value chain.
“Absence of adequate machinery in the dairy sector has led to increase of milk hawking with the informal traders sometimes adulterating their milk with substances not suitable for human consumption,” he said. He said the milk cooling machines, which are part of a Sh10 billion grant package from the Dutch government to mechanise Kenya’s dairy sector, will be supplied to dairy co-operative societies.
Bett said other components of the grant package include supply of the cooling machines in the livestock sub-sector and tractors. “Significant component of the grant investment will be applied to sensitise consumers and other value chain players on safe milk consumption.
Further, the Dairy Board of Kenya (KDB) regulatory role in the sub-sector will be enhanced to monitor safety and hygiene of milk being consumed,” he said. “The country is losing a lot of milk, especially at the farm level as farmers lack modern cooling systems fitted with pasteurisers to ensure it is safe for consumption.”
According to the KDB, out of 5.2 billion litres of milk produced annually, 2.6 billion litres is consumed at the farm level while the other half goes to the informal and formal markets. The board says of the 2.6 billion litres that goes to the market, 80 per cent of it is sold in slums areas and estates while slightly above 500 million litres is processed by local processors such as Brookside and New KCC.
Bett explained that the government’s mission is to reduce milk hawking, which is dangerous to consumers. With the introduction of the cooling machines, that will be fitted pasteurisers, Bett said milk will be safer and acceptable across the value chain.
“Providing coolers is not enough and our focus is to take it further to ensure hawked milk is treated to make it safer. This will help make the informal milk trade acceptable across all the value chain.” The informal traders will now be able to purchase pasteurised milk from a centralised point and thus, sell it to other market segments.
The minister noted that on the other hand small-scale farmers will equally benefit from stable prices from the cooperative societies. The machines, to be delivered next month, will be located in every ward in the country to help in aggregating milk by all the dairy farmers.