Steve Umidha @steveumidha
Brookside Dairy will increase milk producer prices by up to Sh11 per litre delivered to its processing plant in Ruiru.
The latest price review by the company comes despite ongoing rainfall across the country – a period not synonymous with such appraisals since farm-gate prices are known to fall during periods of abundant rainfall.
The new price increase will now see the dairy firm pay up to Sh37 per litre of milk delivered by its contracted farmers, but will not impact the commodity’s retail prices for consumers who are presently buying a 500ml packet of milk at Sh50 or less depending on the brand and outlet.
The move, which takes effect this week, sets a fresh battle for the country’s raw milk market that is currently controlled by Brookside Dairies with 45 per cent market share.
Brookside’s milk procurement director John Gethi said in a statement yesterday that the new rate was an incentive to farmers to enable them to cultivate fodder crops and pasture grasses to be used as animal feed during dry season.
“The new producer prices are meant to enable our raw milk suppliers to set up animal feed plots on their farms. We are urging all farmers to redouble their energy towards sustainable farming by reserving portions of their farms for cultivation of animal feeds,” said Gethi, adding that by investing in climate smart dairy practices, such as growing of animal feeds during the rainy season, milk production in the country would remain optimum across all seasons.
Industry figures by Kenya Dairy Board for the first quarter of 2017 show that the volume of milk has gone up by 25 per cent from 47.9 million litres in January to 60.2 million litres in February.
“We call on our farmers to redouble their effort in milk production in order to further benefit from this opportunity,” said Gethi adding that the increased producer prices was a show of commitment by the company to the strong partnership with its farmers.
Brookside said yesterday that it would continue to procure all milk supplied by its contracted suppliers in spite of anticipated rise in production.