In a brief statement on Monday, Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) Managing Director Margaret Kibogy said the board has suspended the controversial Milk Bill to allow for consultations and further public participation.
The board has withdrawn the drafted bill meant to regulate the industry before they could be presented to the National Assembly for approval, in line with the Statutory Instruments Act of 2013, which necessitates that all subsidiary laws generated by government agencies must be adopted by Members of Parliament.
“Our attention has been drawn to the public concern on the proposed draft dairy regulations 2019. It is noted that some comments made through various media outlets are misinterpretations of facts and intentions of the regulations. We wish to inform stakeholders that the processing of the regulations has been suspended to allow for consultations. We wish to thank all the stakeholders and the public in general for the feedback received,” read the statement.
The milk bill described as discriminating by some industry players criminalized farmers for selling milk to neighbors and consumers and unless the milk is pasteurized before leaving the farm gate.
Subjecting them to further discrimination, the farmers could 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.
Those who defied the regulations risked a fine of at least Sh500,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.
Milk bar owners were to pay Sh3,000 annual fees, mini dairy and dispenser owners Sh6,000, cottage industries Sh4,000 and processors handling below 100,000 liters per day Sh25,000. Those handling more than 100,000 liters per day were to pay Sh50,000 and distributors Sh25,000.
Githunguri MP Gabriel Mukuha said the application would stifle the rights of farmers at the expense of established entities, and if the suspended bill somehow finds its way into the parliament, he will fight it.
“I will be the first to oppose the proposed laws when they come to parliament because they are not friendly to our farmers,” Mr Mukuha, a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, said at parliament buildings on Monday.