Dairy farmers during a past Meru Dairy Field Day. Photo/pool

President William Ruto will on Saturday join about 30,000 dairy farmers during the Meru Dairy annual field day.

The field day organized by the country’s second biggest milk processor, also brings together experts, service providers, manufacturers and institutions offering various technologies and skills in the dairy sub sector.

Meru Dairy Cooperative Union chief executive officer Kenneth Gitonga said farmers will also exhibit the top 100 producing cows. Some of the best cows produce up to 50 litres of milk per day.

Mr Gitonga said the union will use the opportunity to seek the president’s intervention on high cost of animal feeds and sexed semen which are key barriers to efforts by dairy farmers to increase milk production in the country.

According to Meru Dairy Cooperative Union, one of the country’s top milk processors, the majority of dairy farmers can only manage up to five litres per cow due to inability to afford quality feed.

Kenya largely relies on importation of raw materials from neighboring countries while the recent prolonged drought pushed prices further.

Gitonga said the sexed semen, which is needed to improve breeds, costs up to Sh8000 per dose, making it out of reach to many farmers.

Meru Dairy CEO Kenneth Gitonga. Photo/MPC Reporter

Speaking ahead of a one day dairy farmers’ field day to be graced by President William Ruto on Saturday, Mr Gitonga called for tax incentives to lower the cost of dairy feeds as well as prices of semen and vaccines.

“The biggest challenge we have as a milk processor is sustainable supply of milk. We are currently processing more than 300,000 litres in a day but the supply fluctuates based on feed prices. 

Our target is to raise production to 1 million litres daily to tap into the African market. This is why we are appealing to the government to address the sharp rise in costs,” Gitonga said.

He said the dairy union was in the process of establishing an animal feed factory in efforts to address quality and cost concerns for their members.

The Meru Dairy CEO further called for the establishment of a milk prices stabilization fund to avoid losses when there is high production in the country.

“A lot of milk goes into waste when production is high. Farmers also sell at a loss when there is oversupply. The government should have a fund to purchase the excess milk to keep them in business,” he said.

According to the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB), consumption of processed milk has been on a sharp decline since January due to high prices pushed by high cost of production and the recent prolonged drought.

Consumption dropped from 62 million litres in January to 52 million in March, marking the lowest amount since October 2019.

The amount of processed milk consumed in the country accounts for 40 percent while the informal sector takes up the bigger chunk of the market.


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