Milk intake drops 10pc in 5 months

Andrew Tuimur
Agriculture chief administrative secretary Andrew Tuimur. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Milk intake by processors has fallen 10 per cent in the five months to May with further reduction expected after the onset of the cold season.

The Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) data indicates the volumes declined from 52 million kilogrammes in April to 46.8 million kilos in May.

The dairy regulator further projects a decline of five per cent in June and July, with the shortage expected to raise the consumer prices.

“Milk intakes in June and July 2018 are projected to drop by approximately five per cent as a result of cold weather, especially in high altitude areas such as Kinangop, Nyeri, Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Kiambu,” said the KDB.

The cold weather, the regulator said, affects the physiology of dairy animals leading to lower milk production.

Agriculture chief administrative secretary Andrew Tuimur said even though there has been a decline in production, processors still have some milk in storage, which has kept the prices down.

“Judging by the current low prices it is evident that processors still have some volumes which have helped to maintain the current low prices,” said Dr Tuimur.

Early this month, New KCC warned of a likely increase in prices after producer price rose from Sh37 to Sh40 per litre.

The price of milk has remained low at an average of Sh50 for 500ml packet for the last one year after hitting a high of Sh60 in April 2017.

The move prompted the government to intervene by allowing processors to bring in duty-free powder milk to ease the shortage.

A drought that affected Rift Valley and central regions, which are the major producing zones, resulted in low production.

The data shows the volume produced last year decreased by 17 per cent to 535 million litres from 648 million litres in 2016.

The current shortage has seen processors scramble with the informal sector for the share of the raw material.

Kenya has an annual processing capacity of 1.4 billion litres, which translates to 3.9 million litres a day. However, processors do not operate optimally due to the diverting of milk to the informal sector.