Kenyan Dairy farmers have threatened to stop supplying raw milk to processing plants
Dairy farmers have threatened to stop supplying raw milk to processing plants citing exploitative prices. The farmers are disappointed over what they termed as failure by the processors to involve them when they recently cut raw milk farm gate prices.
Speaking in Eldoret during an Annual General Meeting that brought together dairy farmers from various parts of the country, Kenya Dairy Farmers Federation Chairperson Richard Tuwei said they will rally behind all farmers to stop selling their milk to processors until an agreement on prices is made. “We are appalled with the way things are being done by processors, if they do not review milk prices upward to favour the increasing feeds’ prices then we will have to look for another market that will suit our needs,” he said.
He explained that milk processors have cut the prices from Sh30 to Sh26 per litre yet they have not reduced the prices of processed milk. Tuwei noted that the price reduction has demoralised farmers who work hard to satisfy the national milk demand. “There is a plot by processors to kill the productivity of farmers by turning the white gold to commercial business and we shall not accept their plans,” he explained.
He claimed that the dairy sector is currently stifled by unscrupulous businessmen through importation of milk. The chairperson was categorical that the Government should conduct investigations on the processors’ behaviour. “We are aware that powdered milk is currently imported from neighbouring countries yet we have the capability of supplying adequate milk,” he observed.
KDFF Secretary General Richard Soi said attempts to engage the processors have been in vain, saying the reduced prices come at a time when taxes on essential goods are high. New KCC Managing Director Nikson Sigei said he is aware of the complaints raised by farmers, adding that the prices shall be adjusted based on market demand. “Our current market prices for raw milk ranges from Sh34 to Sh38,” he explained on phone. John Mbuthia, a farmer from Kieni, said they will start supplying their milk to dispensers in major centres due to their ability to receive their pay on time.