Kenyans staring at milk shortage as drought hits most parts of country

Kenyans staring at milk shortage as drought hits most parts of country

Milk prices have skyrocketed in recent days on the back of heightened drought which has struck most parts of the country.

It is the latest among basic commodities in the country to have witnessed an uptick in pricing, proving harsh economic times for Kenyans.

According to a report by Business Daily, milk processors from all of the major milk companies have raised their milk prices by Ksh.5 at most.

A 500ml packet of fresh milk in some areas is retailing at Ksh.53 from Ksh.50 for new KCC brands and Ksh.52 from Ksh.48 for Ilara while the long-life brands are retailing at Ksh.55 in supermarkets

According to Kenya Dairy Board, the current situation has been caused by the ongoing drought in most parts of the country but the situation is expected to change once the rains begging.

“The shortage is due to drought but the expected rains will reverse the trend,” said Margret Kibogy, KDB managing director.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows the formal sector recorded an intake of 802 million litres of milk last year against 684 million that was realised a year earlier.

The problem is expected to worsen because processors are out of powdered milk, which they usually reconstitute into fresh when there is a scarcity in the country.

But even milk shortage fears grip the country, milk prices are soaring on the expectation that a tight market will be hit by further disruption to fertiliser and feed supplies and inflationary pressures following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to Financial Times, bad weather in New Zealand, the United States and Australia had already combined with rocketing gas prices and pandemic-related supply chain disruptions to put pressure on milk producers in the five biggest exporters before the war.

Combined milk production in New Zealand — known as the “Saudi Arabia of milk” because it controls 35 per cent of global exports — the EU, Australia, the US and Argentina fell 1.7 per cent in January compared with the previous year, down according to commodity broker StoneX.

Data from the Agriculture ministry reveal that Kenya imported 70 million liters and 10 million kilograms of powdered milk in 2018 and an additional 15 million liters of liquid milk and 1.5 million kilograms of powdered milk in January 2019.9 Apr 2020

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