KENYA – Kenyan milk farmers may soon receive higher payments for producing cleaner, high-fat milk, as the Ministry of Agriculture proposes a new system to incentivize quality production.

Currently, farmers are compensated solely on the volume of milk supplied. However, the State Department for Livestock Development aims to shift this to a quality-based payment system, reflecting global standards.

Jonathan Mueke, the Principal Secretary for the State Department for Livestock Development, stated that the current volume-based payment system is outdated and can lead to milk adulteration, such as adding water to increase volume.

“We are moving to quality-based payment where we will pay in regards to how much butterfat is in your milk, how much protein is in your milk, how much solids are in your milk,” Mueke said.

Fat content in milk is crucial for producing high-value dairy products like yogurt, cheese, butter, ghee, and cream.

By implementing this new system, farmers could see payments increase from Sh50 (US$0.39) per litre to Sh60 (US$0.47) per litre for high-quality milk, encouraging them to produce better quality milk.

Dairy Industry Bill 2024

The proposed changes are part of the draft Dairy Industry Bill 2024, which aims to modernize regulations that have been in place since 1957.

The bill seeks to ensure proper regulation of the dairy industry, promote milk consumption and trade, and enhance milk safety.

With quality-based payments, farmers will be rewarded for the good appearance and taste of their milk, its cleanliness, and its fat content.

The bill also proposes establishing the Kenya Dairy Authority, a body that will regulate and promote the quality and safety of dairy produce. It will advise on developing and implementing dairy industry standards and formulate dairy policies and strategies for national and county governments.

Safe milk Kenya campaign

To support these changes, the Ministry of Agriculture, Bio Foods Products Limited, and USAID are running a ‘Safe Milk Kenya’ campaign.

Launched in January, this initiative aims to help farmers produce high-quality, safe milk for both local and export markets.

The campaign targets the entire dairy value chain, from feed manufacturers and farmers to milk processors and consumers.

Mueke emphasized the importance of buying only processed milk, as processors have the technology to test and reject milk contaminated with harmful bacteria like aflatoxin, which cannot be eliminated by boiling or pasteurization.

“Aflatoxin causes stunted growth in children and cancer in humans. We need to ensure that any aflatoxin-laced milk doesn’t make it to the consumer and gets discarded at the source,” he said.

Most Kenyan milk producers are small-scale farmers who may lack the technology to test for contaminants.

The PS noted that 65% of Kenyan milk is sold at the farm gate, where it is more likely to be contaminated due to factors such as dirty milking practices, antibiotic residues, and aflatoxin in animal feed. He urged consumers to watch out for their health by purchasing certified products.

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