KEY OBJECTIVES

Healthier life, more income drive milk safety campaign

Safe production spares farmers cost of treating and destroying contaminated milk

In Summary

• Farmers producing safe milk can onboard onto a system that will boost income

• Various entities are working round the clock to ensure farmers get it right

USAid Kenya and East Africa project management specialist Robert Kilonzo during an interview with the Star yesterday
USAid Kenya and East Africa project management specialist Robert Kilonzo during an interview with the Star yesterday
Image: KEITH MUSEKE

Bio Food Products Limited has been running the 'Safe Milk Kenya' project co-funded by USAid, which represents a step towards ensuring the safety and quality of dairy products.

USAid Kenya and East Africa project management specialist Robert Kilonzo said the initiative, under the Africa Trade and Investments programme, aims to grow the industry's overall impact in Kenya.

Speaking to the Star yesterday, he said without the production of safe milk, farmers will end up using large sums of money on treating and destroying what is already contaminated.

“What if the narrative is turned the other way and you ensure that you put mechanisms to do the right things so the resources used can be used for other developments?” Kilonzo asked.

“Ideally the way we work in our programming is — and for the purpose of the Safe Milk Kenya project — the beneficiary is the farmer,” he added.

The project management specialist said safe milk will enable farmers to increase the volume of production.

Consequently, he said Bio Food Products, together with the Kenya Dairy Board and Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, are working round the clock to ensure farmers get it right.

“You also have to remember that the action you want the farmer to take is coming at a cost,” he said.

“For them to improve the practices and agricultural practices, they need to understand how they are doing it. Provided our eye levels are achieved — income, jobs, every farmer and Kenyan getting safe milk — that is the drive.”

Kilonzo said partnering with Bio Foods and other sectors is to ensure every Kenyan has access to safe milk.

He said the safe milk is essential for Kenyans to live a healthier life, which is one of their key objectives.

“The reason why we are partnering with the private sector is because the private sectors have the resources and in most developed countries, they create nine out of 10 jobs,” he said.

“They are enterprise-driven but on the other angle, we are looking at how to get Kenyans out the poverty life through creation of jobs.”

Kilonzo said by farmers producing safe milk, they can onboard onto a system that will not only have them sell the milk but also make some good income. 

With the project running all the way to 2026, Kilonzo said they expect to see farmers on board as well as increased income at the farmers' level.

“We do expect that by then that Bio Foods and the partners we are working together with will have achieved all the milestones we agreed on,” he said.

Subsequently, the farmer will now be having enterprise thinking.

By this, Kilonzo said the farmers will have the knowledge of what they are doing right for them to sustain the market they have.

He expects Bio Foods to onboard some of the farmers into their programmes.

“The programme has a lot of capacity building in it and that is what the milestones talk about,” Kilonzo said.

“Behaviour change will have been instilled into the farmer and they will have known what is required of them to maintain their conduct of milk supply and make money.”

It is at this level that he said the farmers will also realise that they can protect their product consumers.

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