Agriculture / Kenya / Rwanda / Uganda

Small milk producers, hawkers and service providers turn handsome profits as Kenya’s dairy sector continues to expand


Milk, the ‘white gold’ of Kenya (photo on Flickr by eadairy, East African Dairy Development project).

A booming market in milk in Kenya is enhancing the livelihoods of many poor people—from dairy farmers to milk processors to milk hawkers to the country’s tens of millions of daily consumers of fresh milk.

‘In recent months, milk prices have been going up in Kenya, providing an opportunity for those ready to make quick bucks out of an unfortunate situation.

‘Beatrice Wanjiku is one such Kenyan. She buys a litre of milk from farmers at 15 shillings and sells the same to New Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) at 20.80 shillings.

‘“While hawked milk takes care of my expenses, the earnings from milk sold to KCC add up in my bank account boosting my savings. It is a win-win situation,” notes Wanjiku, a Murang’a based milk hawker who buys the commodity from farmers and retails it in the populated residential estates in Nairobi like Dandora and Kayole. . . .

‘An increasing number of milk hawkers have become marketing agents and brokers, earning a handsome income in the process.

Recent findings from an assessment of the impact of the Kenya dairy policy change show that changes in the sector, which incorporated small-scale milk producers and traders into the milk value chain and liberalized informal milk markets, have led to an increase in the amount of milk marketed and increased licensing of milk vendors. . . .

‘With the expanding dairy sector, the East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) Project has launched a feeding manual for dairy farmers and extension officers.

‘High demand for fresh milk as population grows and the need for value-added milk products for an expanding urban middle class has prompted farmers to acquired new skills in dairy management to be able to supply milk.

‘The manual covers information on the basic nutrients a dairy cow requires, the available feed resources that provide these nutrients and practical aspects of feeding the animals. . . .

‘The EADD is a regional program led by the Heifer International in partnership with the International Livestock Research institute, Techno Serve, the World Agroforestry Centre and the African Breeder Service Total Cattle Management. It is implemented in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

‘While farmers have benefited directly from milk sales, service providers in the dairy industry, banks and transport companies have equally raked in on the growing industry.’

Read the whole article at Xinhua/Coastweek: Milk hawker steals thunder from dairy farmers, 11–17 May 2012.

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