A huge population in Kenya will be forced to increase their spending on dairy products in the coming months following a huge drop in milk production. The nose dive in milk production is attributed to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the country.
Speaking over the issue, the Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai noted that the foot and mouth disease outbreak in parts of the Rift Valley and recent increase in prices of animal feeds has also forced some farmers to abandon dairy farming and focus on other things hence initiating the shortage.
The PS who was speaking after opening a validation workshop on veterinary bills in Nairobi two days ago also added that low milk farm gate prices coupled with high cost of imported animal feeds occasioned by COVID-19 related movement restrictions across the world were also some of the reasons why others have left dairy farming.
The sentiments seemed to have transitioned well with those of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya wo weeks ago indicated that the Covid-19 pandemic had disrupted milk market following closure of schools and hotels.
The CS had acknowledged that the foot and mouth disease had contributed to the drop in the production thus distressing processors who do not have sufficient milk to satisfy the market.
Kimtai however indicated that the government will not dictate the retail prices of milk in the country, in the advent of reduced milk production. He said that they are planning on ways to fill the gap by allowing importation of milk from other countries such as the USA.
To further ensure local animal products meet international standards, Kimtai said that stakeholders are meeting to ensure validation of the animal health, veterinary health and animal welfare bills that seeks to increase safety standards and also improve efficiency in the livestock production value chain.
According to the Ministry, the move will affect about 800,000 dairy farmers in the country. The sector contributes about 8 percent of Gross Domestic Product with annual milk production of 3.43 billion litres.