Dairy farmers in Kenya want the government to reduce the high cost of animal feeds
Dairy farmers want the government to reduce the high cost of milk production, saying the price of animal feeds should be addressed beyond just zero-rating it in the budget.
The Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) says farmers across the country are not reaping from their investment due to high costs at the farm.
“The ever-increasing costs of animal feeds are eroding the returns farmers are making, affecting the sustainability of the dairy investment and, therefore, the livelihood of the Kenya producer,” said KDB managing director Margaret Kibogy.
“The government, through the recent budget, also removed the Value Added Tax component in the production of animal feeds. It is hoped that this will eventually reduce the price and ultimately the cost of production at the farm level thus improving farmers’ earnings,” she added.
Agriculture Cabinet secretary Willy Bett said the ministry is aware that despite the good performance of the industry, there have been various challenges that have continuously affected its growth. In a speech during a dairy stakeholders meeting at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) Nairobi, Bett said the ministry is working to ease the situation for producers.
The government released Sh300 million in the last financial year for the upgrade of New KCC factory in Eldoret and a further Sh800 million will be released in the current 2016/17 accounting period as debt waiver and equipment upgrade.
The meeting’s participants, while reacting to a study by Tegemeo Institute that indicated the high cost of animal feeds, said the prices are beyond the reach of many smallholder farmers. The study indicates that for farmers to achieve higher gross margins and profits of at least seven per cent, there is need to reduce the cost of feed concentrates.
However, Kibogy said the board has embarked on countrywide capacity building programmes to assist farmers adopt the latest dairy technologies and good farming practices. “We are very vigilant as a board to ensure that the public consumes products that are not harmful to their health,” she said