Usaid, Bio Food in Sh80m milk safety partnership

Milk processing at a factory. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Milk processor Bio Food Products has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) on a country-wide milk safety programme.

Usaid is expected to provide resources to the tune of Sh79.9 million ($500,000) to support the programme, which will see the dairy processor collaborate with small-holder farmers to reduce aflatoxin contamination in milk.

The two-year initiative is expected to equip Kenyan farmers with the tools and knowledge to produce quality and safer milk.

Moreover, Bio Food Products is expected to leverage the programme to induce greater milk production by the small-holder farmers with the processor enticing the producers with above average farm gate prices.

“Primarily, this is an aflatoxin mitigation project. We do find milk on shelves in Kenya that does not meet quality standards. We are going to talk to farmers about the health impact of milk contamination and the importance of providing better feeds to livestock,” noted Bio Food Products CEO Joachim Westerveld.

Kenya has the highest consumption of milk-per capita in Sub-Saharan Africa at 110 liters per year.

According to statistics from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the quantity of marketed milk decreased to 754.3 million liters in 2022 from 801.9 million litres in 2021 with the dip being attributed to the scarcity of fodder. The price of milk in the period rose by 12.4 percent to Sh4,720.43 per 100 litres in 2022 on the back of reduced supplies.

Milk produced and marketed in Kenya has been the subject of contamination with some vendors and hawkers having been caught using hydrogen peroxide and formalin to prolong the products' shelf life.

Chemical contamination of milk has been linked to a rise in cancer cases.

“This programme is about safeguarding the health of Kenyans one glass at a time. This will lead to not only a healthier Kenya but also higher agriculture productivity,” noted US ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman.

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