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Tough times for diary farmers as milk prices fall

Dairy farmers are bracing for tough times as milk processors reduce milk uptake and slash farmgate milk prices from farmers due to milk glut attributed to ongoing rains.

Stanley Ngombe, the Kenya Dairy Farmers Federation (KDFF) chairperson said that milk processors have informed them that they have been overwhelmed by the excess milk in the market, with some processors rationing milk purchases while others halting milk purchases.

He disclosed that several processors have reduced milk prices from Sh50 per litre to between Sh35 and Sh30 per litre due to milk glut.

“Milk processors have informed farmers about the excess milk due to rains. We have milk staying in coolers for more than four days and in some cases, farmers are forced to return home with their milk. . . if the trend continues, we are likely to see farmers forced to pour their milk,” said Mr Ngombe.

He appealed to the government to intervene and provide funds to New KCC-the state-owned processor- to mob up excess milk and convert them to powder milk to stablise prices.

“The government needs to come to our rescue and provide finances to New KCC because they can process our milk. They can process milk to powder which can be reconstituted when there is scarcity during the dry season,” stated Mr Ngombe.

The official stated that more than 23 cooperatives across the country had been worst-hit by the glut situation and called for the government to intervene and salvage the situation.

In 2012, farmers in the country were forced to pour their milk due to milk glut after at the time, the processors reduced the uptake of milk from farmers.

Milk processors in the country are projecting 50 million litres more, above the normal, between October and January compared to a similar period last year due to the ongoing rains.

Last Sunday at an event in Eldoret town, President William Ruto had stated that his administration was determined to roll out key reforms in the dairy sector even as he asked milk processors to buy milk at Sh50 per litre.

“Recently, we had a stakeholders meeting at Nakuru (State Lodge) and we agreed to continue with reforms. I know there exist some challenges in the sector and we will hold another stakeholder meeting soon to streamline these issues,” said the head of state.

On Friday, Nixon Sigey, the New KCC managing director, told Nation that as a result of the government-spearheaded modernization program, the firm has increased capacity to handle and process more milk.

“We have now increased processing capacity from 300,000 to 800,000 litres per day of both liquid and powder milk in our Eldoret, Kitale, and Kiganjo factories,” said the MD.

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