The newly appointed Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary, Peter Munya has directed New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) to buy milk from farmers at Ksh33 per litre, up from the previous price of Ksh25.
The order follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to the National Treasury to release Ksh500 million to new KCC to buy all existing surplus milk from farmers for conversion into powdered milk.
Milk producers in the country have for a long time decried low prices and inadequate market. Milk farmers have for a long time faced challenges of surplus harvest and lack of a ready market which have forced them to sell the milk at give-away prices.
It is against this uphill that president Treasury to assign Ksh500 million to the new Kenya cooperative creameries to buy milk from farmers.
Agriculture CS Munya directed new KCC to increase the price of milk per litre for the benefit of the farmer.
“We are directing New KCC to increase the price of milk per litre from 25 shillings to 33 shillings. This is to enable the farmer to make a profit off their produce.” Said Munya
The Managing Director of KCC Nixon Sigei welcomed the move but was quick to admit that dairy sector is still plagued with a number of challenges, key being the high cost of production that has left the consumer vulnerable.
“We welcome the directive and we shall uphold it and ensure that farmers receive 33 shillings for every litre of milk delivered to us. However, to address the price of milk and the profitability of the sector, the cost of production must be addressed. if it is too expensive to produce then we cannot make a profit and the end consumer will not be able to afford the milk.” Said Sigei.
The President also issued a directive that will see the revival of a profitable tea industry. He said it was important to add value to the country’s tea in order to fetch good prices on the international market.
Milk farmers in the country will now have every reason to smile after Munya affirmed the President’s directive when he said that Kenya will soon begin to export Value added tea.
Moving forward, we will work on ensuring that for anyone to export tea outside of the country, a certain percentage must be value-added. Further, we will collaborate with investors to ensure that they set up value addition plants in Kenya. it is also important to diversify our tea stock by planting unorthodox tea, which fetches better prices in the market.”
For the tea sector, it is a step in the right direction but farmers might have to hold on just a little longer before they finally enjoy the profits of their labour.