DAR ES SALAAM,
Livestock keepers should prepare to exploit the Kenyan milk market as the industry regulator has announced that the country is planning to import 200 million litres from East Africa.
Xinhua news agency reported Thursday that the quantity is only for this year and that East African countries would be targeted as the main sources of imports.
The Chinese agency quoted Ms Margaret Kibogy, the Managing Director of Kenya Dairy Board (KDB), as saying Kenya is not self-sufficient in production due to rising consumption fuelled by rising incomes and urbanisation.
“We typically rely on the EAC trading bloc, which has a liberalised trading to meet the consumer demand for milk,” Ms Kibogy told Xinhua during the AgriFi Food Safety Programme forum.
Ms Kibogy said imports from outside the EAC economic bloc were limited to specialised dairy products that were not available in the region in order to cushion the local sector.
According to the regulator, Kenya processed approximately 648 million litres of milk in 2018.
Ms Kibogy said production increased in January compared to the same period in 2018, but that it had been declining since February due to the drought.
She noted that Kenya’s milk sector is susceptible to changing weather patterns due to over-reliance on rain for pasture for livestock.
The MD said, however, that the country was implementing a number of measures to ensure the amount processed annually reached the one billion litres mark by the end of 2022 in order to stop imports.
The KDB is currently training farmers on pasture conservation techniques to ensure they maintain milk production despite the dry spell.