Dairy farmers who supply milk to New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (NKCC) have urged the government to regulate the importation of the commodity from Uganda.
The national chairperson of extension services Muchemi Nderitu said that owing to the current rains, milk production has increased while prices are dropping.
He said due to cheap imports from Uganda, the prices of milk are set to drop further and this will hurt local farmers.
“We urge the government to regulate milk imports from Uganda because this is hurting our farmers,” said Mr Nderitu.
Milk from Uganda sells at Sh12 per litre and many local traders prefer buying the commodity from the neighbouring country.
A litre of fresh milk in Kenya goes for Sh35 but since the influx of the cheap import from Uganda it has dropped to Sh25.
“This price is even below the production price and farmers are now counting losses as traders make huge profits,” said Mr Nderitu.
BUY EXCESS MILK
He spoke at Kunste Hotel in Nakuru Town on Friday after leading a meeting attended by farmers’ representatives from Uasin Gishu, Bomet, Nakuru, Nyeri, Laikipia, Muranga, Narok and Embu counties among others.
The farmers’ representatives said they expected the prices to go up owing to the current rains.
“The government should step in very fast and support the dairy industry by buying excess milk and convert it into powder to stabilise the market,” said Mr Nderitu.
At the same time, the dairy farmers urged the government to review the taxation on dairy products and equipment in a bid to make the industry more competitive.
“It is increasingly becoming impossible to compete with imported milk products from Uganda as farmers are overburdened with many taxes on equipment and dairy products,” said Mr Nderitu.
Apart from the good weather, a move by the milk processor last year to train farmers has contributed to increased milk production. In Nakuru County, New KCC says over 60,000 farmers are now exposed to modern production methods thus increasing output.
The farmers observed that owing to cheap imports from Uganda, there is a glut and farmers are on the receiving end.
New KCC managing Director Nixon Sigey urged the government to mop out the excess milk in the market by converting it into powder milk.
“We have modern factories spread across the country in Eldoret, Kiganjo and Kitale which can convert the milk into powder and other long life products,” said Mr Sigey.
According to statistics from industry regulators, the country currently is holding long life milk product worth Sh1 billion.
“There is still a lot of milk in the market and is increasing by 10 million litres every month owing to the current good weather,” added Mr Sigey.