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Kenyan Dairy Sector Struggling to Settle

10 March 2008

KENYA - Joseph Ngera, a Nakuru based large-scale farmer, has failed to deliver milk to the processing factory since the beginning of the year when his entire herd of cows was stolen by raiders who took advantage of the recent post-election violence.

This is the second time he is facing such a problem, reports the news agency, Business Directory. In 1999, Mr Ngera’s herd was wiped out by Foot and Mouth disease. Now he is one of the many dairy farmers in the Rift Valley who are still unable to produce milk — a move that has left the dairy sector reeling.

Although the dairy industry has consistently grown since 2002, it bore the heaviest brunt of the recent skirmishes sparked by the disputed results in last year’s General Election.

Mr Ngera, who is also an official of the Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (Kenfap), said more than 80 per cent of the estimated 1.5 million farmers had been destabilised by the turmoil.


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"The restocking initiative through provision of heifers and stocks of artificial insemination services by the Government could see us return to normalcy"
Joseph Ngera

“My farm manager was chased away. Most of the farmers are still counting losses and there have been no deliveries since January 20,” said Mr Ngera in a telephone conversation with Business Daily. The farmers’ plight comes as processors step up efforts to collect milk from farmers.

“We do not know how long it will take to get back on our feet. The restocking initiative through provision of heifers and stocks of artificial insemination services by the Government could see us return to normalcy,” Mr Ngera said.

Kenfap has proposed a restocking initiative by the Government. With the cost of animal feed going up, farmers also want up to Sh2 price increase on every litre of milk delivered to milk factories, saying the Sh0.50 proposed by industry leader New KCC will not stem the current string of losses.

The farmers may not even cash in on a bid to build a milk reserve. Recently, New KCC — the largest milk processor in the country — got a Sh600 million revolving fund from the Government towards a strategic reserve for milk, but more than six months after the idea was mooted it is yet to take off.

  • View the Business Daily story by clicking here.

    Further Reading

    - Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.
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