Commodities

Farmers protest US dairy lobby market access bid

milk

A farmers lobby warned Tuesday such access could have far-reaching implications on Kenya’s milk sector. FILE PHOTO | NMG

brianngugi_img

Summary

  • Kenyan dairy farmers have protested the push by their US peers for unfettered access into the local market in the proposed free trade agreement between Nairobi and Washington.
  • A farmers lobby warned Tuesday such access could have far-reaching implications on Kenya’s milk sector including, it said, possible collapse of milk prices.

Kenyan dairy farmers have protested the push by their US peers for unfettered access into the local market in the proposed free trade agreement between Nairobi and Washington.

A farmers lobby warned Tuesday such access could have far-reaching implications on Kenya’s milk sector including, it said, possible collapse of milk prices.

The Kenya Dairy Farmers Federation which says it represents milk farmers’ cooperatives across the country said Kenya produces enough milk for local consumption and has surplus for export and "does not need milk from other countries."

"Kenya Dairy Farmers Federation encourages business partnerships, but if this is assented to, milk prices will reduce drastically hence destabilising the industry,” said Gideon Birgen, chief executive of the association, told the Business Daily.

The federation brings together more than 125,000 dairy farmers from 30 dairy cooperatives.

The local farmers were reacting to the bid by the US dairy lobby to push their country’s negotiating team in the trade deal talks to secure a reduction of tariffs imposed on milk ecxports to the Kenyan market.

In a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer regarding the trade negotiations, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) said Kenya’s protectionist measures over its dairy sector limit US dairy’s ability to enter the Kenyan market while calling for better access.