Commodities

Munya rules out milk imports as prices spike on biting shortage

munya

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya speaking at a past event. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The Ministry of Agriculture through the National Food and Nutrition Security Report had in March recommended a one-month window for the importation of milk.
  • The ministry said there was generally reduced milk productivity as a result of poor rains and it wanted processors to be allowed to import UHT and powder milk to ease the situation.
  • The rains have stopped in the last two weeks in the key milk-producing regions even as the weatherman predicts a dry period in the next seven days.

Agriculture Cabinet secretary Peter Munya has ruled out any milk imports despite the shortage of the commodity and a recommendation from the ministry’s technical team on the need to bridge the deficit with imports.

Mr Munya said the rains that had been witnessed in the country would improve production in the coming days hence no need for imports at the moment.

The Ministry of Agriculture through the National Food and Nutrition Security Report had in March recommended a one-month window for the importation of milk to address the current shortage that has seen processors operate below their installed capacity.

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

“We’re not going to import any milk whatsoever. We expect that the volumes are going to increase in the coming days following the onset of rains,” said Mr Munya.

The rains have stopped in the last two weeks in the key milk-producing regions even as the weatherman predicts a dry period in the next seven days. The cessation means that it may take longer before the current situation improves.

Data from the Kenya Dairy Board shows that the volume of the commodity supplied to processors declined to 61.7 million litres in March from a high of 69.3 million and 66.4 million litres in January and February respectively.

The decline has led to a sharp shortage in the market, which has pushed the price of a half-litre packet to Sh60 and resulted in the absence of long-life milk on the shelves as processors concentrate on first moving fresh brands.

The retail price of fresh milk has increased to Sh65 for a 500ml packet from Sh50 previously while the same quantity of long life is retailing at Sh70 from Sh55 previously, marking one of the highest prices of the commodity in Kenya’s history.

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