The dairy draft regulations will undergo a review after Kenya Dairy Board offered to open fresh talks with farmers.
Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) managing director Margaret Kibogy said her board had partnered dairy farmer groups representing smallholder milk producers and the Kenya Dairy Farmers Federation, representing interests of large-scale milk producers, to re-launch the talks.
“It is important that the dairy sector value chain is streamlined enabling dairy farmers to enjoy better prices via informed access to milk coolers and processors. This will best be addressed via
structured consultations on the contentious regulations,” she said.
Ms Kibogy said a fragmented dairy sector only benefited milk transporters at the expense of smallholder producers who had no option but to dispose of milk to the middlemen for onward delivery to milk processors.
Bright Dairy Farmers Group executive secretary Elisha Bwatuti welcomed the talks saying self-regulation should address all farmer interests at every level.
“For the dairy industry to thrive, we need facilitative regulations that do not hurt interests of grass-root farmers in the remote parts of the country,” he noted.
Among the most controversial clauses is introduction of punitive fines where a farmer found selling milk to hawkers risks being fined Sh500,000. An array of additional levies had also been included raising fears that dairy farming would become an expensive affair.
Kenya Dairy Farmers Federation secretary general Richard Soy urged the State Department of Livestock and the county governments to collaborate in easing licence fees as well as look into subsidising provision of extension and artificial insemination services.
The regulations also sought to outlaw individual direct deliveries of milk below 500 litres to milk processors in favour of group-led deliveries.