Commodities

Regulator rules out milk imports as supplies fall

milk

A worker of Mukurweini Wakulima dairy collects milk from farmers at Karundu trading centre in Nyeri on October 4, 2016. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

The dairy regulator has ruled out milk imports despite a decline in production volumes since September last year.

Kenya Dairy Board says it is not considering imports at the moment as the rains witnessed in some parts of the country in recent days could help to boost production.

Milk intake has been dropping from a high of 72 million litres in September to 66.5 million in October and 65.2 million and 64.8 million litres in November and December respectively.

This comes at a time when Kenya has depleted the stocks of powder milk that is normally used in times of shortage to supplement the low volumes by reconstituting it into fresh milk.

“We have not thought of imports at this point as we expect the rains that have been pounding different parts of the country to improve production,” said KDB managing director Margret Kibogy.

This has seen processors grapple with low volumes for processing due to a decline in supplies from farmers across the country.

Processors increased the cost of milk by between Sh3 and Sh5 for both fresh and long life brands in September last year when the volumes of the commodity started declining, prompting them to raise the price paid to farmers.

Consumers are now buying a 500-millilitre packet of milk at Sh60 from Sh55 previously for long life and Sh55 for fresh type following the adjustment by processors.

“There is a decline in supply but we cannot say that we have reached the crisis level at the moment because we can still supply milk to consumers,” said Nixon Sigey, managing director New KCC.

Mr Sigey who is also the chairman of the Kenya Dairy Producers Association said there has been a general decline in production occasioned by drought that hit the country in the last couple of months.

He said production may recover in March depending on the rains and how fast the vegetation will regenerate.

“It normally takes around two weeks for the production to recover when it rains,” Mr Sigey said.

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