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Corporate

Drought hits dairy farmers and processors, slashes milk production

Engineers unpack new machines at a New KCC plant in Eldoret: New KCC announced an increment of milk price from Sh40 to Sh43 per litre to cushion farmers against the cost of feeding animals. PHOTO | STANLEY KIMUGE | NMG
Engineers unpack new machines at a dairy plant in Eldoret: New KCC announced an increment of milk price from Sh40 to Sh43 per litre to cushion farmers against the cost of feeding animals. PHOTO | STANLEY KIMUGE | NMG 

Drought has cut milk production in the country by 50 per cent in the last two months even as processors increase their payment rates to farmers.

According to New KCC managing director Nixon Sigey, the dairy sector has been hit hard by drought that resulted in a 40 per cent drop in milk supply to the State-owned plant.

Farmers were having difficulties finding pasture for their animals which is both costly and unavailable, Mr Sigey said.

Maize, an important part of animal feeds, has also been in short supply.

Better prices

New KCC recently raised the price of raw milk from Sh40 to Sh43 per litre as competition for the commodity hots up amidst falling supply.

This makes the firm the highest paying processor in the market followed by Brookside which is offering farmers Sh42 per litre.

The New KCC says it raised the prices in order to cushion dairy farmers against soaring costs of feeding their animals.

The company has also reconstituted milk to powder form in order to bridge the shortage gap in the country.

"We have enough powder milk that will last up to the end of May this year,” Mr Sigey said.

On the other hand, Brookside Dairy has registered an improvement in milk intakes in Nyeri over the last three weeks citing competitive prices offered to farmers.

According to the processor’s general manager John Gethi, dependence on weather was one of the challenges facing the sector.

“Dependency on rain-fed pasture was impeding growth of the sector and production of milk,” he said while urging farmers to take advantage of ongoing rains to prepare and conserve animal feeds.

Farmers in Nyeri earned more than Sh280 million from milk deliveries to processors last year as more residents turn to dairy farming to earn a living.

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