EDITORIAL: Kenya should not ban imported milk powder

In Summary

• Kenyans will have to pay more to buy milk if there is a ban

Milk powwder
Milk powwder

The Agriculture committee in the National Assembly wants to ban the importation of milk.

Only last year the government was considering a reduction of the 67 per cent duty on imported powdered milk because Kenya could not produce enough to meet demand. 

Powdered milk can be stored for a time of shortfall, as there typically is during the Kenyan dry season.

If we stop the import of powdered milk, demand will exceed supply and the price will shoot up. The big milk companies will profit but the Kenyan dairy farmers will not benefit because their production declines in the dry season.

And the consumer will have to pay more for milk if there is an import ban, and will end up drinking less.

There also is an ongoing backlash against the import of maize and eggs from Uganda, despite sharing a free market. If Kenya blocks imports, Uganda could retaliate with its own protective tariffs.

We are living in an interconnected world. Our economies have to compete with global suppliers. If we block imports, the Kenyan consumer will feel it in the pocket.

Quote of the day: "If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people."

Virginia Woolf
The English novelist died on March 28, 1941