Dairy product exports dropped 91 per cent to 20,984 kilogrammes in the second quarter of the year compared to the first as supply fell sharply in the country.
This portends bad tidings for dairy processors who risk losing access to export markets that absorbed 233,132 kilogrammes of dairy products processed in Kenya in the first quarter.
A status report by the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) shows the shortage was worst in May at 5,169 kilogrammes while June recorded 5,488 kilogrammes.
KDB said diversification of dairy product processing had earned Kenya a sterling run in the first quarter with March being the best month at 94,725 kilogrammes of dairy products processed and exported to the Middle East, East and to West African markets.
January saw 46,725 kilogrammes sold with February recording sales of 81,682 kilogrammes—revealing a ready market for dairy products processed in Kenya.
“Despite a good start, milk deliveries have declined since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March, falling by three per cent in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, where the greatest drop was between April and July 2020 at five per cent,” said KDB managing director Margaret Kibogy.
Ms Kibogy called for heightened utilisation of the 4.2 million litres daily processing capacity, saying only 1.34 million litres or only 31 per cent processing capacity was being utilised.
Under the Cash Cow Initiative, KDB is seeking to open up vast chunks of public land for fodder cultivation by resident dairy co-operative that will also be trained on bulking and silage making, thereby ensuring a round the year availability of feeds for dairy animals.
She said major investments in the purchase of milk coolers had also raised availability of cooling facilities in the country to 3.4 million litres per day, but that farmers were using only 37 per cent capacity (1.26 million litres). Kenya had 47 licensed processors as at December 2019, having increased from 26 in operation in 2018.
The falling supplies have, however resulted in an increase in the farm gate price of milk. New KCC has increased its price from Sh33 per litre to Sh42, while Brookside’s price has gone up by 17 per cent to Sh40 per litre.