In the past, Kenya exported milk to various countries in Africa and beyond. It exported butter to Zambia and Malawi, cheese to Tanzania, and ghee to Arab and European countries.
However, today, Kenya’s exports have dwindled. “We cannot do it, because our production does not meet global quality standards,” said Mr Cornelius Moss, a dairy consultant.
“And neither does it meet the standards of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS), added Mr Moses Nyabila , an agribusiness adviser.
In addition, the September 2020 status report by the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB). All dairy product exports slumped by 91 percent to 20,984 kilogrammes in the second quarter of the year. This, in comparison to the first quarter, as a result of a sharp reduction in supply in the country. Why is Kenya producing this low quality of milk?
“The result is an industry that is not growing.”
“Blame it on quality,” says Mr Alex Gathii, dairy consultant and cow signals expert. “Our milk is wanting in that front. It has a high somatic cell count, high antibiotic residues, while the bacterial count is high. Other quality parameters remain unmet,” he added.
The experts were speaking during the webinar on the status of the dairy sector, organised by Smart Farmer Africa.
Quality and production have become major issues in recent times. For example, media reports on unadulterated milk and products flooding the market.
Additionally, there have been scares about high levels of aflatoxin contamination in the produce and products. In 2017, the alarm was sounded on the safety and quality of the milk sold by hawkers.
A study published by the Pan African Medical Journal that year shed light on more of the situation. Raw milk sold in parts of the coast region, especially Lamu West Sub-County, was adulterated with water and antimicrobial residues. Three years later, Kenyan officials seized consignments of milk from Uganda over alleged quality concerns. A major diplomatic row between the two neighbouring countries was sparked from this.