Dairy Farming in Kenya
The government has urged farmers, youth and potential investors to invest in dairy farming as it is a profitable enterprise. [ PHOTO / farmbiz africa ]

Dairy Farming in Kenya: Gross revenue from milk production in Kenya has improved by 3 per cent over the last five years, an indication that the price of milk has increased. This is making dairy farming attractive again for those keen to make extra income from milk.

A new government report, done by the Kenya Dairy Board, has offered hope in a sector that has been a constant pain for farmers due to lower prices of milk caused by a glut in the market during the rainy season which takes the most of part of the year.

According to the report, revenues from milk has improved by 3 per cent over the past five years, a significant growth in an industry that has just know price declines and losses.

Speaking in Nairobi during the launch of the report on the cost of milk production in the country, the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Mr Peter Munya, said the improvement is much higher than the 3 per cent indicated in the survey whose data was collected in 2019.

“This was prior to the interventions undertaken by the Ministry in January 2020 to improve and stabilize milk production prices in the country. The report also reveals an increase in the volume of raw milk marketed through organized farmer groups such as cooperatives,” added Munya

The CS said dairy farming is profitable with average profitability per litre rising to Ksh16.20 in 2019. “This profitability should excite and motivate farmers and potential investors to increase investment in milk production,” stated Munya.

The rise in production and revenue shows majority of farmers are making headway in managing the cost of milk production, adding that a lot more needs to be done to make the industry more competitive regionally and globally.

According to the report, which was commissioned by the Kenya Dairy Board and undertaken by Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, on average a dairy farmer in 2019 earned milk profits of Ksh12.20 per litre compared to Ksh4.20 in 2014.

This is an indication that profitability varied with production systems – highest for semi-zero grazers at Ksh14.27 per litre, and lowest for zero grazers at Ksh8.57 per litre. The report says while the cost of milk production remains high at an average total cost of Ksh23.30 per litre for zero grazers, at Ksh23.00 for semi-zero grazers, and Ksh17.24 for open grazers, the average cost of producing milk declined by 20 per cent over the last five years.

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Poor feeding of dairy herds is seen as the main challenge facing livestock farmers, which contributes to the decline in herd sizes per farm over the last five years.

The CS urged farmers, youth and potential investors to invest in dairy farming as it is a profitable enterprise. “If we, do it right, taking into account the lessons of this study, we will succeed and transform rural livelihoods and the entire country through dairy farming,” added Munya.

The Kenya Dairy Board Managing Director, Ms Margaret Kibogy, said despite the Covid-19 pandemic the dairy industry had shown resilience to improve performance. “We only noted a lot of household consumption, especially when the schools were closed due to the pandemic,” said Kibogy.

Beatrice Kimeng’ch, a farmer from Uasin Gishu County, encouraged farmers to keep records and urged the government to educate farmers on record keeping to enable them improve production and provide accurate information to researchers and livestock officers. She advised against farmers keeping many cows but to concentrate on a few that they can afford to feed well. (KNA)

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