Commodities

Milk production flat in 2020 on weather woes

milk (1)
geraldandae

Summary

  • Data from Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) shows milk volumes declined by 0.95 percent last year to hit 679 million litres, down from 685 million litres in 2019.
  • This is the first time that production of milk in the country has dropped in the last three years, on account of unstable weather that led to insufficient feed.

Milk production declined marginally in 2020 compared with the previous year, with the dairy regulator advising farmers to conserve feeds following alerts of dry weather, which may hurt farming in 2021.

Data from Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) shows milk volumes declined by 0.95 percent last year to hit 679 million litres, down from 685 million litres in 2019.

This is the first time that production of milk in the country has dropped in the last three years, on account of unstable weather that led to insufficient feed.

The year was characterised by floods in some months and dry conditions in others.

“There was a small decline last year, but we are hopeful that this can be corrected if farmers preserve feeds and cut reliance on open field grazing,” said Margaret Kibogy, managing director KDB.

Ms Kibogy said the regulator was monitoring the situation following the forecast of a La Nina period in the first quarter of the year.

“We are keenly following up to see the interventions that we can come up with as a sector if at all the country will experience the dry period as projected,” she said.

KDB had projected that December production would remain below the levels that were witnessed in corresponding time last year which was 68 million litres. Production last month was 62 million litres.

Consumer prices of milk have risen to Sh55 for a 500ml packet of long life milk from Sh50,with processors citing low volumes from farmers.

The regulator pointed out that the current prices will prevail because of higher producer cost that processors are paying farmers.

Processors increased the producer price of raw milk by more than double since March last year, following a decline in supply.

For instance, Brookside is paying 17 percent more for a litre of raw milk, which pushed the cost to over Sh40 for a chilled commodity delivered at the firm in Ruiru. On the other hand, New KCC increased its price by nearly the same margin.