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Milk farmers  kenyaThe dairy industry regulator is looking for funds to buy excess milk and cushion farmers against potential losses.

The Kenya Dairy Board hopes to get a share of the Sh1.7 billion set aside for Strategic Food Reserves for the plan.

Production of milk has increased by about 40 per cent thanks to favourable weather and the regulator wants to protect farmers from a possible glut.

The board also plans to convert excess milk into powder to prolong its shelf life and help farmers avoid losses.

Kenya Dairy Board acting managing director Humphrey Maina said the sector has recorded increase in volumes of milk from 1.2 million litres a day to 2 million litres collected formally following heavy rains. He said a lot of milk is collected informally.

โ€œOur worry is that milk processors may go slow in milk collection or slash the prices to discourage production. The allocation will go a long way in ensuring that dairy farmers are paid promptly,โ€ย Mr Maina told Smart Company.

He said production is expected to go further up thanks to the long rains which have resulted in sufficient fodder and feeds.

He said the board received Sh300 million for food reserves but hopes an additional allocation would be provided for conversion of more raw milk to the powder form.

โ€œSome of the processors like New KCC and Brookside have machines that convert liquid milk to powder which can be re-converted to raw milk when the dry spell sets in after the current long rains,โ€ said Mr Maina.

At same time, the dairy sector is expected to have new laws aimed at streamlining the industryโ€™s key areas.

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Mr Maina said the Dairy Act and regulations will be strengthened to seal loopholes in the sector.

POSITIVE RESPONSE IN THE COUNTIES

The proposals have been sent to Attorney Generalโ€™s office and Agriculture Cabinet secretaryโ€™s office and will soon be made available for
public scrutiny.

โ€œThe proposed regulations will address issues such as milk handling and how one can set up milk dispensation unit,โ€ he said.

Mr Maina urged traders and farmers to form co-operatives to benefit more from the industry.

โ€œTraders want quick cash or advances and saccos are the best vehicles for them,โ€ he said adding that players need to come up with their own regulations to foster operations of the dairy sector.

Mombasa and Migori counties have already adopted a new programme that involves providing milk to school-going children. Ten counties have also developed policies and laws in their assemblies towards providing milk to pupils. The counties include Embu, Kirinyaga, Murangโ€™a, Siaya, Uasin Gishu, Kakamega, Kajiado and Kilifi counties.

โ€œThere is a positive response in the counties. At least 20 have shown willingness to (adopt) this scheme to support especially early childhood education and offer market for the dairy product,โ€ Mr Maina said.

He said the regulator is in discussion with more counties to adopt the milk programme.

Last September the board held discussions on the matter with CECs and county assembly heads of the finance, education and agriculture committees in the 47 counties.

SOURCE: http://www.nation.co.ke

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