KENYA – Kenya experienced a 5.1% increase in milk consumption in the 11 months leading up to November 2023, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

The rise was attributed to higher rainfall throughout the year, which boosted milk production and helped stabilize prices.

The total milk consumption during this period reached 730.87 million liters, up from 695.08 million liters in the same period the previous year.

The data specifically focused on milk consumption in the formal sector, excluding informal consumers who constitute approximately 60% of Kenya’s milk market.

Despite a marginal decline in milk sales in November compared to the previous month, the average consumption throughout the year surpassed that of 2022.

Milk, a staple in Kenyan households, is either consumed directly or used in various food preparations, such as milk tea.

Additionally, it serves as a key ingredient in the production of dairy products like cheese, butter, and cakes by food manufacturers.

Kenya Dairy Board CEO Margaret Kibogy credited the increased milk production to favorable weather conditions, leading to improved yields and subsequently lower prices.

Kibogy expressed optimism about tapping into the export market to enhance returns for farmers, citing a successful export of dairy products valued at Sh5 billion in 2022, with hopes of doubling that figure in 2023.

A check on major retailers revealed fresh milk prices ranging between Sh49 and Sh56 for a 500ml packet.

The country’s annual milk production is approximately 5.2 billion liters, with over 80% contributed by 1.8 million smallholder dairy farmers.

The long rains season starting in March, followed by the onset of El Nino rains in October, contributed significantly to increased fodder and milk production.

However, despite the positive trend, Kenya still imports a significant portion of its milk, especially from Uganda, as the country grapples with meeting the local demand.

The dairy sector constitutes about 14% of Kenya’s agricultural gross domestic product (GDP), primarily supported by smallholder farmers who contribute 56% of the total output.

The surplus rainfall not only benefited the dairy sector but also positively impacted other agriculture sub-sectors, contributing to a 6.7% growth in the third quarter of 2023, compared to a 1.3% contraction in the corresponding quarter of 2022.

The improved performance was attributed to favorable weather conditions throughout the first three quarters of 2023, according to KNBS.

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