KENYA – Kenya-based dairy company Bio Food Products and USAID have unveiled an initiative aimed at safeguarding consumer health and fortifying the economic resilience of Kenyan dairy farmers by managing teh threst of aflatoxins in the dairy value chain in the country.

This collaborative effort dubbed “Safe Milk Kenya – Know your Milk – Improve your Health” responds to the alarming reality that over 80% of dairy products in Kenya harbor  aflatoxins, imperceptible toxins linked to a significant cancer burden in the country.

Launched in the presence of top government officials, including US Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman and Managing Director Kenya Dairy Board Margaret Kibogy, the partnership has received a substantial commitment of US$240,000 from USAID, complemented by Bio Foods’ investment of nearly US$300,000.

Ambassador Whitman underscored the initiative’s strategic approach, emphasizing the imperative to equip Kenyan dairy farmers with knowledge and tools to produce safer, higher-quality milk.

“I am very passionate about agriculture and smallholder farmers. The partnership is between us and Bio Foods, not just about business. We intend to ensure every Kenyan has access to safe food,” she said.

Holistic approach to tackle aflatoxin across the value chain

The project adopts a holistic approach, addressing aflatoxin contamination not only along the milk value chain but also empowering the hands that nurture these products – the Kenyan farmers.

Joachim Westerveld, Executive Chairman and CEO of Bio Foods, expressed the company’s commitment to upholding the highest global standards for the benefit of both farmers and consumers.

“Together we will sensitize and train Kenyan Dairy Farmers to produce aflatoxin safe milk. We will also role out a national sensitization campaign to make Kenyan Consumers aware of Safe Milk to empower them to make better choices for their health.”

He added that Bio Food Products is looking forward to make this project a huge success together with its main partner USAID – and other partners including Nakuru County, Nairobi County, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya Dairy Board, Unga Group PLC and Maxim Agri.

The campaign emerges as a response to the prevalent danger of aflatoxin contamination in Kenyan dairy, impacting animal productivity, causing fatalities, and posing severe health risks to consumers, including cancer.

The end-to-end value chain-oriented initiative seeks to reduce aflatoxin contamination, ensuring the safety and quality of dairy products in Kenya.

Government alignment and awareness campaign

The initiative aligns seamlessly with the Kenyan government’s objective of enhancing milk safety and quality.

PS Agriculture and Livestock Development, Jonathan Mueke, highlighted the significance of increasing dairy farmers’ incomes, fostering consumer confidence, and overall improvement in the dairy industry.

“Milk plays a big part in the agricultural sector. We are aimed at increasing dairy farmers’ incomes, fostering consumer confidence, and overall improvement in the dairy industry,” he said.

The launch brought together key players from the private, public, and development sectors, emphasizing a united front against aflatoxin contamination.

Nairobi Deputy Governor James Njoroge commended the initiative as timely, addressing a critical challenge to food safety.

The project aims to raise awareness among consumers and farmers about the health impact of aflatoxin in milk.

Through extensive training and advice on mitigation measures, the initiative seeks to empower farmers with techniques and tools to produce safe dairy products.

Additionally, the project will test and monitor production processes to limit contamination, aligning with Bio Foods’ mission of ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food.

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