In a raft of measures meant to cushion the dairy industry, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed on Tuesday, January 14 that the National Treasury release Ksh500 million to the New KCC to purchase excess milk from dairy farmers for conversion into powder for future use.
Another Ksh575 million will be set aside for two New KCC milk plants to be established in Nyeri and Nyahururu, so as to enhance processing of the produce.
In his State of the Nation address, in which he stressed on the place of agriculture in supporting the Big Four Agenda, the Head of State moved to tackle problems in the milk industry with an aim of cushioning farmers from losses.
“I intend to boost the milk industry with Ksh1 billion in the immediate term to support the efforts of the industry,” he said while speaking from State House, Mombasa.
To protect farmers from illegal imports that are flooding the markets from across the borders, the President also directed for imposition of a 16 per cent VAT on all milk products originating from outside of the EAC region, and the impounding of any milk products that do not meet Kenyan standards.
For some time now, the dairy sector has hit headlines for the wrong reasons. They have been complaining about poor prices, continued milk glut due to lack of market, and counterfeit milk products flooding the Kenyan market, to mention but a few.
Last week, police officers in Meru County confiscated 23.1 tonnes of milk from Musty distribution deport in Makutano, claiming it was substandard. They took 3,850 cartons of Lato long-life milk valued at Sh2.5million.
But officials at the Deport denied any wrongdoing, claiming that they had all the required documents including the East African Community certificate of origin.
Even before the dust settled on the Meru milk seizure, detectives from the anti-contraband and counterfeit goods on Saturday nabbed six Lorries in Uasin Gishu County, ferrying Lato milk believed to have been illegally shipped into the country.
The Lorries were found carrying 13,000 cartons of milk estimated to be worth Ksh7million.
However, one thing is clear on the milk saga in this country; the clearing agencies such as Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards and all other relevant bodies have a question to answer as to why, as a country we still face food safety issues?