NAIROBI – Kenya has a huge unexploited market for dairy products in Eastern and Southern Africa, according to Livestock and Development Minister Mohammed Kuti., who called on farmers to up production and seize the opportunity.
Speaking ahead of the launch of African Dairy Conference and Exhibition, which will be held in April. He said South Africa and Zimbabwe are the only countries which produce Dairy products in Eastern and Southern Africa. “The Ministry of Agriculture sub-sector has developed Strategy (ASDS) to tap the enormous opportunities in the sector so as to reduce poverty and unemployment,” said Mr Kuti.
The Minister said that the Cabinet has passed Dairy Products Bill which is expected to improve the dairy farming. Kuti said that Livestock production contributes 17 per cent to the agricultural GDP and it generates Ksh320 billion annually. About 10 million people, who represent a quarter of Kenya’s population, rely on this sub-sector for their livelihood.
“This being the fastest growing agricultural sub-sector can be a major player in poverty reduction for it will be in a position to spur economic activities in the village level,” he said. He added that although the Ministry is contributing significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, there some challenges among them heavy livestock losses due to diseases and pests, low absorption of modern technology, inadequate infrastructure and limited market.
He further said they are looking forward to the re-introduction of the school milk programme, which is expected to improve the nutrition of Kenya Child and at the same time increase the uptake of milk. Speaking at the same function New KCC Managing Director Machira Gichohi said of late there has been enormous production of milk and processors are taking interest.
Mr Gichohi said they are expecting increase in milk production as soon as the long rains start. “Currently the milk production has gone down due to harsh climate, which is being experienced country wide but we are expecting the trend to change immediately the long rain season picks up.”
Mr Gichohi said that last year December New KCC was produced more than 540 million liters of milk which was highly boosted by the good weather. “We are looking forward for the time when we will be able to irrigate our land so that we will not be relying on weather,” he said.