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Linturi tips dairy farmers to earn more in new model

Dairy farmers are set to earn higher returns after State announced it will begin a roll out of quality based payment for milk farmers from in a pilot phase to boost competiveness of the dairy sector.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi disclosed the move will likely encourage more dairy farmers to produce quality milk and enhance competiveness for the local and export markets.

The CS said that this part of efforts to diversify portfolio such as ghee and butter to increase exports of Kenyan dairy products and enhance competiveness of the dairy sector globally.

“We are now transiting to next phase of paying farmer based on quality not basis of quantity. We have products that require high butterfat content and we will pay and we want get good breeds with high production,” said CS Linturi, they in process to roll out provision of artificial insemination to enable farmers get high yielding breeds.

Mr Linuturi noted that they want to increase production from the current 6.1 billion litres to 12 billion in the next two years to improve the farmers’ yields and earnings.

New KCC Managing Director Nixon Sigey told Nation that the State-owned processor in partnership with the Kenya Dairy Board will roll out quality based payment from April in pilot phase.

According to New KCC MD, the pilot phase will target four cooperatives before roll out of nationwide payments to motivate dairy farmers to produce more quality milk.

“Currently, we are in the process of acquiring the testing machines and we plan to begin from April in four selected cooperatives. Through this model, farmers earn an incentive for producing quality milk apart from getting the base price,” explained Mr Sigey.

From March 1, 2024, the firm increased milk buying prices from Sh45 per litre to Sh50 per litre in a bid to cushion them against the high cost of production.

The New KCC MD also appealed dairy farmers to take advantage of the long rains to plant more fodder to compliment government’s efforts to lower the cost of feeds in the country.

Most farmers in the country still practice the free range farming hence overreliance on rain fed agriculture for pasture and water, leading to the fluctuations in milk production year-round.

Milk is popular among households consumed directly or used to prepare other foods such as milk tea. Food manufacturers also use it to make products such as cheese, butter and cakes.

Kenya’s dairy sector is estimated at 14 percent of the country’s agricultural gross domestic product (GDP).

Kenya’s milk is primarily produced by smallholder farmers who account for 56 per cent of the total output. However, farmers still struggle with the high cost of livestock feeds and breeding in the Kenyan market.

Mr Linturi said that the government plans to expand land on sun flower and other raw materials to lower the cost of feeds in the market.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua last month said that the State has allocated funds to the state owned milk processor to cushion farmers against milk fluctuation and stabilize prices.

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