In a bid to cushion dairy farmers against the economic effects of coronavirus, a leading dairy processor has increased producer prices of milk.
Brookside Dairy on Monday announced it would pay an additional shilling for every litre of raw milk supplied to it from Wednesday.
The increase will see the processor pay up to Sh36 per litre, a relief to farmers at a time businesses are re-evaluating strategy to survive the impact of coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted the lives of millions of people and killed thousands of worldwide.
“As the country implements far-reaching measures to contain the coronavirus and its threats to the economy, and especially agriculture, we decided to increase farm-gate prices of milk that will not only boost the dairy farming businesses but also help minimise the negative financial impacts of the current Covid-19, which is also affecting the dairy farming community,” said Brookside Dairy Director of Milk Procurement and Manufacturing, John Gethi in a statement.
The latest price increase comes less than two months after the processor, who controls 40 per cent of the national raw milk market, effected a Sh7 per litre increase in prices. At least 160,000 farmers countrywide benefitted.
On Monday, Mr Gethi told farmers to also use the extra income to invest in animal feed management for their livestock.
“The new prices are also an incentive to our farmers to invest in climate-smart dairy practices, such as the establishment of fodder crops and pasture with the expected commencement of the long rain season,” he added.
He said Brookside Dairy will continue to buy all milk supplied to it by its contracted farmers, besides providing guaranteed payments.
Mr Gethi called on farmers to seek the services of veterinary officers especially at this time when many cows are recovering from the recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.
He emphasised the role of dairy co-operatives in the collection and transport of milk along the value chain, saying farmers stand to benefit from economies of scale.
“We encourage dairy farmers to join co-operatives to benefit from the pricing incentives. They are a huge boost to the formal milk marketing channels,” he added.
Members of dairy groups in Nakuru said marketing of milk through the formal channels have shielded them from the volatility of the informal market.
“Hawkers cannot guarantee regular payments for milk. Many times, they are unable to cope with increased production, besides being affected by concerns on food safety and milk quality,” said Mr David Korir, who supplies Brookside Dairy through Elburgon Progressive Dairy Farmers Co-operative Society in Nakuru County.