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Don’t abandon dairy sector due to poor milk prices, farmers told

By David Mugunyu
Ol Kalou Dairy chairman Isaac Muchiri has asked farmers not to abandon dairy farming despite the low milk prices. PHOTO: DAVID MUGUNYU.

Dairy farmers in Nyandarua have been urged not to sell their dairy cows because of the current low milk prices but instead, wait as solutions to the problem are sought by the county government.

Ol Kalou Dairy chairman Isaac Muchiri and the County Executive for Agriculture James Karitu said the low prices will likely end early next year when the milk supply is expected to be affected by the onset of the dry spell.

Farmers are paid Sh20 per litre of milk delivered, down from Sh35 two months ago. Ol Kalou Dairy is currently processing 65,000 litres of milk from farmers daily for onward supply to eight other processors among them New KCC.

Karitu said milk, potatoes and vegetables were an integral part of Nyandarua economy and if the farmers abandon the dairy industry, the economy of the county will suffer.

He said the low milk prices have been occasioned by a glut as milk being handled by processors in the country had increased from 50 million litres to 68 million litres daily.

Imported milk from neighbouring Uganda is also cited as a cause of low milk prices. Karitu said milk production in Uganda costs Sh10 per litre while it is over Sh20 a litre in Kenya.

“So, we are wondering how Ugandans handle their cows to keep milk production cost that low, considering it was the other day they were buying heifers from us to establish their dairy industry,” Karitu said.

In Nyandarua, the Executive said the dairy farmers produced 290 million litres of milk in 2018. He said the County’s farmers earn Sh12 billion annually from the sale of milk.

Mitigation process

The Executive announced that a milk stakeholders meeting will be held on December 10, this year to deliberate on how to mitigate the perennial problems facing the dairy sector in Nyandarua.

Muchiri warned the farmers against selling their dairy cows with the aim of venturing into “avocado farming because you are told there is a market in China”.

“You are safe in the dairy sector than venturing into unknown water,” the chairman told the farmers during a field day organized by the Dairy in its compound in Ol Kalou town.

He reminded the farmers that people failed miserably after quitting the dairy business to venture into fish farming.

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