Kenya dairy farmers are at the brink of losing their market freedom to the proposed dairy regulations 2019 by the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) are very discriminating and stringent.
70 per cent of the dairy farming business is conducted in informally. Commercial dairy farms have not been successful in penetrating the market because of instability and regulations that are not in favour of their objectives. One small-scale farmer can produce at most 12 litres a day. Two litres are for family consumption the rest is sold to neighbours at Sh40 per month. In a month a small scale farmer raises Sh12,000 from his milk.
Bill criminalizes selling of milk to neighbours
The proposed dairy regulation 2019 prevents farmers from selling milk to neighbours and consumers and unless the milk is pasteurised before leaving the farm gate. Dairy Farmers can only sell their milk to one processor whom they have signed a contract with, who determines the price of the milk with quality overshadowing quality.
A fine of Sh500,000 will be slapped in farmers whose milk has contaminations like aflatoxins without bearing in mind that some of the contaminations are caused by animal feeds sold to them.
For the processors according to the proposal, they have the will to buy milk from farmers at their price. The proposal grants them the freedom to import milk from outside in the event of scarcity in milk production upon their declaration.
Where does the proposal place the dairy farmer at? It discourages the farmer from exploiting the potential in the dairy market with his products.
“Dairy Regulations 2019 will force him (farmer) to take his milk to a cooling and pooling facility twice a day which might be a very long distance away. If he is lucky he will only spend Ksh100 for each return trip, spending Ksh200 on transport expenses alone for his milk to reach the collection point. Price paid for his supplied milk will be around Ksh25 per litre if he is lucky enough to get paid at all. He is now left with a mere Ksh50 daily,” noted a dairy farmer.
The farmers asking the Dairy Board to revise the proposal to benefit both players in the market without weighing heavily on the other, to ensure sustainability and stability in the Dairy farming sector.