Supermarkets stop stocking long-life milk over shortage


Supermarkets are no longer stocking long-life milk following a shortage of supply from processors. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Supermarkets are no longer stocking long-life milk following a shortage of supply from processors as the country grapples with a shortage of the commodity that has forced some outlets to ration the number of packets that a customer can purchase.

The retail outlets have not been getting long-life milk in the last couple of weeks owing to an acute shortage that has seen processors opt to make more of the fresh commodity for supply to the consumers.

Some supermarkets have limited customers to six pieces of fresh milk that they can purchase during their shopping.

Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai said they are waiting for an advisory from the weatherman on how the rain pattern would be in the coming months which will inform whether the government will allow some imports.

“We are exploring importation of powder milk to help stabilize supplies and prices but we are waiting for an advisory from the meteorological department on rains this season,” said Mr Kimtai.

The weatherman in an earlier forecast released in February had indicated that the long rains season, which normally starts in March would be good. However, they reviewed this prediction this month saying that the country will receive poor rains.

The ministry had last month recommended a one-month window for the importation of milk to address the current shortage that has seen the price of the commodity rise significantly.

The ministry says there is generally reduced milk productivity as a result of poor rains and it wants processors to be allowed to import UHT and powder milk to ease the situation.

The country has so far exhausted stocks of powder milk that are normally reconstituted into fresh during the dry season in order to supplement limited supplies coming in from farmers.

Processors normally convert excess milk into long-life products such as powder milk, which is then stored in the strategic food reserve (SFR) for future use.

Industry data indicates that formal milk intake declined by eight percent in the first quarter of the year on the back of poor rains between October and December last year.

The price of a 500ml packet has now gone up by Sh5 across all the brands in the last month, subjecting consumers to more pain at a time when they are grappling with an increase in the cost of other basic commodities.

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