KENYA – Dairy farmers in Kenya are set to benefit from the government’s commitment to installing milk coolers in all wards across the country as part of the modernization program for Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) facilities.

According to government representatives, the initiative aims to eliminate middlemen who often purchase milk at low prices in rural areas and sell it at higher rates in urban markets.

Simon Chelugui, the Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives and Micro and Small Enterprises, highlighted the challenges faced by dairy farmers, including issues related to storage, milk preservation, high feed costs, and limited market access.

He noted that the government’s immediate steps involve reinstating the stalled milk coolers program, with the distribution of 650 milk coolers already underway.

Chelugui emphasized the importance of the dairy and livestock economy, identifying them as key drivers for improving food security, job creation, and boosting exports.

He added that the government plans to establish a milk price-stabilizing fund, allocating close to Sh3 billion for this purpose.

The fund, to be implemented by the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries, will address the issue of excess milk by converting it into long-life products stored in the Strategic Food Reserve.”

“The government will mop up the milk, convert it into powder milk, package it, and store it in the Strategic Food Reserve. As soon as we get to January, even the private processors will be free to buy the same dry milk at a price the regulator will provide,” Chelugui explained.

Acknowledging the challenges faced by both farmers and processors during periods of milk surplus, Chelugui assured that the stabilization fund would stabilize prices in the market and ensure the collection of all milk from farmers.

“Excess milk will be stored in the Strategic Food Reserves as powdered milk for future use, contributing to a stable and prosperous dairy subsector.”

The government’s commitment includes buying milk from farmers at a minimum price of Sh45 per litre to prevent exploitation by middlemen.

Chelugui announced that the first disbursement of the Sh500 million stabilization fund was made in December, with additional funds expected in January to further support dairy farmers.

Despite challenges such as high breeding costs, disease prevalence, and limited value addition, Chelugui expressed confidence in Kenya’s potential to grow dairy milk production by up to four million litres per day.

He assured that the government is actively working with farmers’ cooperative societies to scale up milk production and secure markets, including international markets such as the Middle East.

He added that farmers will also have access to stimulus funds through cooperative societies to boost both animal and crop production, providing comprehensive support for the agricultural sector in Kenya.

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