The Kenyan dairy sector has defied the Covid-19 pandemic to post impressive growth with payment to farmers rising by more than Sh 3.7 billion in 2020.
Making the announcement, the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) Managing Director Margaret Kibogy said payments to farmers in 2020 were Sh 23.76 billion rising from Sh 20.05 billion in 2019.
She said the number of milk processors has also increased from 23 in 2019 to 35 in 2020 while the average farm gate price has stabilized at Sh 37.
Kiboby who praised farmers and stakeholders in the sector for showing the massive resilience said there was an increase of processed milk by 10 percentage points.
She was speaking a Nairobi hotel on Thursday during the launch of a report on the cost of production milk commissioned by KDB and conducted by Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development of Egerton University.
Kibogy said the dairy sector was very vibrant and that KDB remains readily available to work with farmers and all stakeholders to assist them achieve the best results.
The study was conducted in 20 counties that represent different Agro-Ecological zones and where it emerged that farmers still face various challenges raging from poor quality inputs, poor animal husbandry and lack of access to quality AI services.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya was the chief guest in the event where it was revealed that despite the cost of production of milk being high and pegged at Sh 23 per litre, the sector was still profitable for investors.
Munya said the government is exploring ways to see how the cost of production can be brought down further saying the high cost is because of high cost of labour and animal feeds.
He encouraged farmers to use modern cost cutting technologies to reduce their costs and also increase production to benefit from the economies of scale.
Munya challenged county governments to support their farmers especially in provision of extension services, vaccination and provision of subsidized AI services.
He singled out Murang’a County government led by Mwangi Wa Iria which he noted that has taken the dairy sector in that area to a higher level and managed to stabilize milk prizes even before he gazetted the new regulations that sets the minimum prices.
It was noted that the best milk producing counties per cow was Kiambu leading followed by Meru.