Milk producers will not be barred from selling to neighbours as long as it is within the radius of two kilometres, according to revised proposed regulations by Kenya Dairy Board.
The regulator has also reviewed penalties and fines for various offences up to a maximum of Sh10,000. Previously, it had stated in the withdrawn draft that any farmer found flouting rules would be liable to a fine of Sh500,000.
In March, the board bowed to public backlash and withdrew its controversial draft regulations.
The board’s managing director Margaret Kibogy has been holding a sensitisation campaign for farmers countrywide on the regulations as it seeks to make locally produced milk safe and the prices competitive in the region.
She said both farmers and consumers stood to benefit from the regulations.
“The discussions with dairy farmers are ongoing. Some of the areas we are looking at are farmers registration, milk handling, how to transport and store milk, the type of equipment used to transport milk as well as movement of milk from one point to another,” said the MD during a dairy farmers’ stakeholder meeting in Soy, Uasin Gishu County.
Ms Kibogy went on: “One area that has been discussed is the sale of raw milk. I have explained to farmers that it is not that we have stopped them from selling to their neighbours, but it is a proposal meant to protect the consumers from taking milk that is not safe.
It is just that we have a schedule and standards of milk handling and we will continue to engage dairy farmers.”
She added that the regulations will enable the country to export its milk produced locally since the dairy product will have met the set standards.
“The proposed regulations will safeguard quality of milk for the public. For instance, raw milk should be delivered to a processing plant of choice within two hours to avoid deterioration in quality,” said Mr Evanson Mwangi, the principal compliance officer at the board.
He said the draft regulations will require the vendor to make hygiene declarations any time he/she is selling milk to the public, so that the buyer can take necessary precautions when consuming it.
“With these regulations, emphasis will be placed on traceability for quality and management of farms to address the concerns affecting the quality of milk and its products. These regulations are expected to be presented by the end of August,” added Mr Mwangi.
The rules, Mr Mwangi said, supported the registration of farmers so that their information can improve service delivery by the national government and counties.
In March, the controversial regulations sparked a public outcry and were withdrawn before they could be presented to the National Assembly for approval, in line with the Statutory Instruments Act of 2013, which states that all subsidiary laws generated by government agencies must be adopted by MPs.
The proposed regulations had prohibited farmers from selling milk even to their neighbours before they pasteurise it. According to the regulations, milk would only be sold based on quality and a farmer would sell it to one processor who he had a contract with.
Some practices stipulated in the latest regulations include cooling of milk within the shortest time possible to prevent unwanted bacteria multiplication as well as handling of milk using appropriate equipment, record keeping for purposes of follow up in case of a problem, health for handlers of milk and milk products and prevention from contamination.