Kenya has the highest milk consumption per person per year in Africa, though value chain players doubt whether current production will sustain the growing demand.
Livestock Principal secretary Harry Kimutai said on Tuesday that milk consumption per person annually stands at 110 litres, an increase from 80 litres in the last decade.
The closest highest consumer to Kenya is South Africa and Uganda at 90 litres and 60 litres respectively. Kimutai said the high consumption is driven by increased urbanisation and the growing middle class.
The government plans to increase the consumption to 220 litres per person yearly in the next 11 years as outlined in Vision 2030.
Kimtai made the remarks during the launch of the first national dairy awards scheme aimed at sustaining growth within the multi-billion-shilling sub-sector.
The awards scheme will recognise unique efforts by the different value chain actors that have led to the success of the industry, especially at the smallholder level. The award scheme is organised by the Eastern and Southern Africa Dairy Association and Kenya Dairy Board.
“The dairy industry is currently valued at more than Sh184 billion and contributes over four per cent to the gross domestic product. This is due to increasing domestic milk production which averages 5.3 per cent per year and dairy processing capacity growing at seven per cent annually. The growth is driven by growing urban demand, at a rate of three per cent resulting in a national per capita consumption of 110 litres, one of the highest in Africa,” said Kimutai.
The board fears that milk production is likely to be interrupted due to diminishing land, population increase, effects of climate change, low cow productivity and competition from other beverages. Since December, production has been dropping following the drought that ravaged the country.
“Following the onset of the current rains, we expect production will normalise and help in price reduction to ease pressure to customers,” said Kibogy. Current annual production according to the board stands at 5.2 billion litres.
Kimutai complained that the high cost of production is strangling desired industry growth but hastened to add that government is reviewing the Dairy Industry Licensing Regulations 2018.
The rules published about four months ago stipulate that a person shall not sell, offer for sale or expose for consumption, any milk in raw form.
“We have formed a new team with an expanded mandate to seek views from stakeholders and come up with new regulations. We hope this will enhance order in the industry and inspire more growth,” he added.
On the other hand, Kenya is exploring West and North African dairy markets in order to boost farmers’ incomes.
According to Kimutai the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will remove barriers for Kenyan goods seeking access to the rest of Africa.
“We are preparing the dairy sector to produce competitively so that we can sell our surplus dairy products in Africa,” he said. Kimutai said that Liberia has already expressed interest in importing Kenyan dairy products.