By CONRAD ONYANGO Consumers should expect to buy milk at more affordable prices after dairy sector regulator announced improved reserves of the product. Kenya Dairy Board has said the production levels have returned to normalcy following a period of long rainfall since April. This has seen the production turn around the 30 percent decline the product recorded between January to March this year.
“Since April we have experienced improved production and we can testify there is plenty of milk in the shelves now,” said Machira Gichohi, the Managing director, Kenya Dairy Board.
Since the beginning of this month, retailers engaged in price wars after New KCC became the first to break the ice by reducing the price of its half liter packet of milk by Sh 5 to retail at Sh 40. Top rivals, Brookside and Githunguri dairy also took a leap to reducing their prices. In a spot check The People has learnt that most fresh milk brands are currently sold at between Sh 38 and Sh 40 for half liter packets. Milk prices shot from Sh 33 per half liter pack in February after the country experienced a dry spell. During this period, farmers declined selling their milk to processors resorting to sell directly to consumers for prompt and better pays. The regulator also affirmed there will be no more milk glut even after assuring farmers of a sustained milk supply. “We are not yet out of the woods in terms of storage capacity. However, strategies are in place to address fluctuations in production,” said Gichohi. The dairy sector through, Kenya Dairy Processors Association(KDPA) said it will engage farmers to consistently produce milk throughout the year, by incorporating proper feed conservation methods. This will include making silage and hay to be used during dry seasons. Processors have also been urged to consider processing milk powder and pasteurized milk to improve their shelf life. “We are also planning to introduce Extended Shelf Life (ESL) technology to prevent recurrent of milk glut,” said Gichohi. Going forward, KDPA has launched a Sh 50million milk campaign dubbed ‘Do Milk, Stay Young’ that aims at inculcating milk drinking culture. This is viewed to tame excess milk production during the long rains.