NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – The Government is encouraging players in the milk industry to adopt the Quality Based Milk Payment System.
Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai said a regulatory framework in the dairy industry is also being addressed through the draft Dairy Regulations that seeks to enhance organization and compliance of milk dealers across the dairy value chain.
“I am encouraged that the concept of implementing Quality Based Milk Payment Systems are beginning to take root in Kenya. Despite the small number of processors who have embraced this option, such as Bio Foods and Happy Cow, I am hopeful that the other processors will also embrace this direction in the near future,” said Kimtai.
The Quality Based Milk Payment Systems focuses on motivating farmers to produce quality and safe raw milk, providing a direct monetary benefit to farmers.
Speaking during a milk quality and safety seminar, Kimtai said the Government has procured and distributed over 300 milk coolers to dairy farmer groups through the County governments to address the problem of storage.
“An additional 600 milk coolers will also be distributed in the next few years to improve proximity of cooling facilities to dairy farmers. Raw milk should ideally be cooled within two hours of milking and therefore expanding the infrastructure for raw milk cooling is an important step in improving the microbiological quality of raw milk,” said Kimtai.
Kenya Dairy Board Managing Director Margaret Kibogy said the industry, which has 25 licensed processors handling approximately 650 million litres per year, is characterized by milk with high residual levels for aflatoxin and antibiotics.
“There is also lack screening of raw milk, adulteration, use of non-food grade containers and a high bacterial load brought about by the inadequate cold chain in distribution and retail,” said Kibogy.
Kimtai also added that the Government is planning to establish an authority that will have overall responsibility for the safety of food and drugs in the country, similar to the powerful US Food and Drug Administration.
Kenya Food and Drug Authority will comprehensively address food safety and promote domestic and international trade.
“The mechanisms for the establishment of the proposed body are underway,” said Kimtai during a milk quality and safety seminar in Nairobi.