RELIEF

Milk shortage to end in two weeks - Dairy Board MD

Tough climatic conditions saw milk delivery from farmers drop by 50 per cent.

HIGH COST: Empty milk shelves at Magunas supermarket in Utawala on Tuesday, April 5. Some supermarket outlets have been forced to limit the quantity of milk per customer due to the shortage.
Image by ERIC OMONDI
In Summary
  • Milk production in Kenya is heavily dependent on rain and seeing as it has started raining in most parts of the country, the sector will revamp and prices will start stabilizing.
  • Tough climatic conditions saw milk delivery from farmers drop by 50 per cent.

The ongoing milk shortage in the country will end in two weeks’ time, according to  industry players.

Kenya Dairy Board managing director Margaret Kibogy said Kenya's milk production is heavily dependent on rain and with the ongoing rainfall in various parts of the country production will pick and lead to price stabilisation.

“We can assure our consumers that the situation should correct itself in two weeks, there is no need to panic,” Kibogy told the Star.

A similar position was expressed by New KCC boss, Nixon Sigey who said adverse weather conditions saw milk delivery from farmers drop by 50 per cent.

“Six months without rains has affected production at farm level and is the main reason why we have dropped by almost 50 per cent in terms of supply,” said Sigei.

He said most processors are now largely supplying fresh milk hence the reason for the acute shortage of long life milk products.

“Fresh milk is available so that everybody is able to get it as quickly as we can supply it,” Sigei, told the Star on telephone.

Sigei, who also chairs the Kenya Dairy Processors Association said Kenya's dairy farming is largely rain fed and rain dependent this determines availability of fodder.

“We have gone close to seven months without rain, that has a ripple effect. It affected fodder for livestock and the cost of animal feeds has also gone up,”he said.

The prices of animal feed has gone up by more than 30 per cent in the last one year, on account of expensive corn, minerals, and soya beans. 

This has been occasioned by the high demand for commodities on the global market. 

A 70 kg bag of dairy meal is now retailing at Sh3,400 compared to Sh2,500 in August last year.

Feed and fodder account for 55 per cent of the cost of producing a litre of milk.

Reduced supply from milk processors has seen supermarket shelves go without long-life milk in the last couple of weeks while some outlets have been forced to ration the number of packets per customer.

A spot check in various retail stores in Nairobi on Thursday showed near empty shelves for long life milk popular in the market due to its durability.

An attendant at Naivas Mountain Mall along Thika Road said they have not had long life milk for the past three weeks.

The fresh milk counter at the retail store was also half empty, with purchases restricted to three packets.

A similar situation was witnessed at the nearby Quickmart store where the long life milk product shelf was been with one litre fresh milk packets.

Geoffrey Magak, a Juja resident who used to buy two cartoons of long-life milk monthly said he has been forced to seek alternatives.

“ This would last me for close to a month. These days I go to the supermarket and I can only get fresh milk which at times I’m limited to only a few packets,” he said.

The country requires about 74 million litres monthly to meet the high demand yet production has gone down by almost 15 per cent.

Industry data shows that milk consumption in Kenya stands at 60 litres per litre per capita.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows the formal sector recorded an intake of 802 million litres of milk in 2021 against 684 million the previous year.