A section of dairy farmers have opposed the proposed milk regulations that are aimed at streamlining the sector.
The laws prohibit farmers selling raw milk even to their neighbours before they pasteurise. They add milk will only be sold based on quality and a farmer will only sell milk to one processor who he has a contract with, among others.
Any farmer found flouting the rules will be liable to a fine of Sh500,000.
David Kipchumba, a farmer from Soy, Uasin Gishu County, said that the regulations are meant to stifle the small dairy keeper.
"What we want to know is are they regulating milk produced in the country only or even that which is imported? Why are processors allowed to import milk instead of boosting local farmers’ capacity?" he posed.
Dairy farmers across the country have protested the influx of cheap milk from neighbouring countries like Uganda, which has led to decline in prices.
Kipchumba said farmers should be allowed to sell milk to regulated dairies or through dispensers in the market.
National Assembly Committee on Trade and Industry members while on a tour of Uasin Gishu led by their chairman Kanini Kega said that they will not support any law, which will hurt local farmers.
“We have not received the Bill yet but we will look at it and I want to assure everyone that we will reject it if it will hurt local farmers at expense of few individuals,” added the MP.
The committee yesterday toured New KCC Eldoret and Rivatex East Africa to assess the modernisation programme of the two firms.
STIFLE THE DAIRY SECTOR
Kenya Dairy Board managing director Margaret Kibogy, whose organisation is spearheading the regulations, defended them saying the industry stakeholders realised the need to review the Dairy Policy and Regulations way back in the 90s and the process is ongoing.
“The main factors that necessitated the review include need to update the policy and regulations in line with the liberalised nature of the industry; the rapidly changing technological innovations; response to consumer demands for quality and safe products and to respond to increasing incidences of malpractices in the milk trade,” she said.
She added the promulgation of the constitution in 2010 further required the various statutory instruments to be aligned to the new laws to recognise the devolved system of government.
“The development of the regulations involved a wide range of experts drawn from government, private sector, development partners, milk producers, traders and processors. During its development, the experts made reference to the manner in which the dairy industries across the world were regulated. Stakeholder engagements started in 2016,” she said.
Kibogy noted the proposed regulations do not in any way attempt to create a monopoly or stifle the dairy sector but are meant to enhance and promote sustainability of the industry to the benefit of all stakeholders.
“Consumption of safe and quality milk cannot be compromised and we encourage all dairy players to promote the same,” she said, asking farmers and other people with comments to forward them to; [email protected] for consideration.