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Milk output hits seven-year high

Milk production in the first eight months of the year rose by nine percent
Milk production in the first eight months of the year rose by nine percent to mark the highest quantities realised in the last seven years. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Milk production in the first eight months of the year rose by nine percent to mark the highest quantities realised in the last seven years.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows the volumes hit 443 million litres in the review period, up from 406 million in corresponding period last year.

The rise defied a spell of drought that hit the country in the first quarter of the year, that significantly cut production, leading to higher consumer prices.

The shortage saw processors increase consumer price of long-life milk by Sh5 for 500ml packet citing shortage of the commodity. The prices have, however, dropped by the same margin.

Kenya Dairy Board (KDB), the sector regulator, attributes the volumes to rains that started in May and largely continued all the way to October, with the weatherman forecasting more showers in the coming weeks.

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“Rains have played an important role in increasing forage in the fields and this is what has helped to raise the volumes,” says KDB.

The regulator said the country had suffered one of the worst droughts in years as it prolonged for more months than anticipated.

The start of long rains this year delayed by two months, as the precipitation started in May as opposed to March as had been forecasted.

KDB managing director Margret Kibogy said the sector has now recovered following good rains that has regenerated fodder in the field.

“We are now witnessing improved volumes in the sector following the rains that started in May,” said Ms Kibogy.

A lot of Kenyan farmers practice free range production where cows graze in the fields, hence are susceptible to fodder shortages in times of drought.

Milk production has improved in recent years as the government moves in to support farmers on preserving feed.

The leading milk processors have so far cut producer price of the commodity, facilitating an increase in supply amid an outcry from farmers.

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