Hi Cyprian Nyakundi,
Please highlight the plight of dairy farmers in Kenya.
The proposed regulations are going to drive all but Brookside Dairy Limited and 10% the dairy players out of the market.
The proposed regulations are meant to protect Brookside and a few others while they run the rest of us into poverty.
Uhuru Kenyatta only wants his family to benefit.
He couldn’t care less about anyone else and yet he ran the economy to shit. We have no employment and went to dairy farming to feed our families. He may be stealing everything from the National Treasury but we won’t allow him to steal from our tables.
Attached is a letter from a concerned dairy farmer.
Hide my identity.
The letter in full text below.
KENYA DAIRY BOARD
PUBLIC REVIEW OF THE DRAFT DAIRY REGULATIONS 2019
OPEN LETTER FROM DEEPLY CONCERNED BRIGHT DAIRY FARMERS OF KENYA
(Compiled and passed by 400+ Kenyan Dairy Farmers)
A) The foundation and the most important stakeholder of the Dairy Industry is the Dairy Farmer. None of the many other stakeholders would be able to exist without the Dairy Farmer. Dairy Farmers are one of the most important employers in the rural environment. Dairy Farmers are also one of (if not) the biggest contributors to Gross Domestic Product derived from agricultural activities. Other stakeholders are many too, but Dairy Farmers are in their millions. Despite of this very objective fact NO opinions and views of Dairy Farmers were included in the long process that led to the Draft Dairy Regulations 2019. Present at the Stakeholders’ meeting were a mere 5 (five!) Dairy Farmers, one of them at the same time also a cooperative representative. None of the other cooperative representatives or even farmers’ representative was himself a Dairy Farmer. In the three hours presentation “Dairy Farmer” was just mentioned ONCE.
We therefore strongly object to the claim that Dairy farmers were sufficiently informed, consulted and represented in the process that resulted in the Draft Dairy Regulations 2019.
Following practical example to illustrate the grave impact these Dairy Regulations 2019 will have on the average Kenyan Smallholder Dairy Farmer (who combined produce 80% of all milk in Kenya):
The average Smallholder Dairy Farmer has a small parcel of land with three or four cows in total, two of which are milked and produce a combined 12 liters of milk per day. 2 liters are consumed by the farmer’s own family; the remaining 10 liters are sold to his neighbours who concentrate on other agricultural activities. They buy this raw milk directly from him, boil it to make their daily tea or boil it to supply a very nutritious supplement to their children’s diet. The Dairy Farmer sells his milk @ 40/- per liter to his neighbours, thereby earning 400/- per day which gives him a gross income of 12,000/- per month. This until now was totally sufficient for him to lead a humble but decent live fully supporting his family and sending all his children to school.
Dairy Regulations 2019 will force him to take his milk to a cooling and pooling facility twice a day which might be a very long distance away. If he is lucky he will only spend 100/- for each return trip, spending 200/- in transport expenses alone for his milk to reach the collection point. Price paid for his supplied milk will be around Kshs. 25 per liter, if he is lucky enough to get paid at all. He is now left with a mere Kshs. 50 daily. Being a law abiding Kenyan Citizen has turned him from a fully self-reliant, respected and satisfied rural inhabitant to a peasant beggar who will most likely join the trek to search for a better life as an urban migrant.
If by just trying to survive he continuous to sell his raw milk directly to his neighbours this fact alone by Dairy Regulations 2019 definition makes him into a criminal liable to prosecution and penalties of up to Kshs. 500,000 and years in jail.
The greatest part of the utmost criticized 70% of Kenya’s informal = unregulated dairy market consists of milk sold in exactly above example’s situations. Kenya Dairy Board’s declared goal of regulating 100% of all Kenyan milk market will thereby rob millions of RURAL inhabitants of their livelihoods.
PROPOSED CHANGE AND SOLUTION
A provision should be made that selling of raw milk directly from the farmer to the end consumer may be permitted if his location/circumstances don’t allow easy and effective other use or collection in a pooling and cooling facility. The consumer should intensively and sufficiently be made aware of and educated about the risks involved in direct raw milk consumption. Even in the USA, whose dairy regulations served as a blueprint to discussed document, allow direct sale of raw milk by farmers to end consumers.
B) One other major stakeholder in the Dairy Industry, even more important than the Dairy Farmer is the milk consuming member of the general public. Although probably almost all participants of the stakeholders’ meeting could be counted under this category, NONE of them was consulted in their role as a consumer. The consumer has important rights too and is supposed to be able to make his own informed Whether he wants to buy ready to use fully processed milk off the supermarket shelve or unprocessed milk directly from the Dairy Farmer. Certain groups of the public strongly object the use of processed milk due to religious believes or personal preferences. Many more members of the public simply can’t financially afford the purchase of fully processed milk on a daily basis.
Back to above example: Those rural inhabitants who presently buy their milk @ 20/- for half a liter from their Dairy Farmer neighbour once Dairy Regulations 2019 are full enforced will now have to commute long distances to the next shopping centre equipped with dependable electricity supply to be able to offer pasteurized milk for sale. This pasteurized milk will cost a minimum of twice the price of the raw milk they so easily obtained from their neighbour.
Adding the effort and expenses to get to the shopping centre first this milk will now be financially out of reach for most of them. Not counting the fact that they don’t have own electricity or refrigeration at home and by the time they want to boil their tea at night using that expensively bought pasteurized milk it will already have spoiled.
The greatest part of aforementioned 70% of Kenya’s informal = unregulated dairy market consists of milk bought in exactly above example’s situations. KDB’s declared goal of regulating 100% of all Kenyan milk market will thereby rob millions of RURAL inhabitants (or close to 70% of the total population in fact) of their daily tea with milk or milk for their children. What are the nutritional consequences going to be?
PROPOSED CHANGE AND SOLUTION
Same as above under point A) and all Kenyans should be consulted in a referendum or opinion poll whether they would prefer to use exclusively expensive but safe fully processed milk or would prefer to also be allowed to buy raw milk directly from the Dairy farmer to boil for their tea or for their children.
We could bet our existence as Dairy Farmers on the result that the majority of all consumers, when given free choice, will prefer to buy affordable milk fresh from the farm and boil it themselves.
There could of course also be made a distinction between processing requirements of milk for the urban consumer with enough buying power to purchase fully processed dairy produce from the supermarkets and rural populations who lack both the required infrastructure and financial abilities to exclusively depend on processed dairy products. In Malawi such a distinction legally already exists.
C) The phrase that truely hurt us most during the long hours listening to the various presentations was the absolute need to ban consumption of “milk that continues to harm our people” and that the general public must be protected from a product that is portrayed as being more lethal and dangerous than cars, tobacco, alcohol, sugar and others. We would truly love to see official statistics about how many Kenyans get hurt, sick and die each year from absolutely LEGAL and unrestricted use/consumption of latter four products OR from milk bought directly from a dairy farmer and boiled at home for tea or for the kids.
This would clearly reveal the whole truth about what our population should really fear and avoid. Eggs and poultry products and plain meat (from whichever species) also have exactly the same potential to transmit dangerous and even lethal pathogens to their consumers, but strangely enough nobody seems to see any need to control their production and marketing by 150 pages of legal document. And milk, just like all these other products, by boiling it at home is rendered 100% safe from all microbial dangers. Aflatoxin was mentioned severally. Aflatoxin is not produced by the dairy cow but by maize harvested and stored under unfavorable conditions as regularly persist in our tropical environment. The aflatoxin excreted through milk is only a small fraction of the aflatoxin consumed by the cow fed on contaminated maize containing feedstuffs. The very same maize that is predominatly consumed by our population as their main staple diet. So to truly protect our population from aflatoxin in milk much more stringent quality control measures concerning animal feeds must be introduced and implemented.
Water which is the most essential FOOD ingredient for any living thing is absent from Kenyan taps for weeks at a time. Even in Nairobi at the KALRO grounds during the KDB Stakeholders meeting all the taps were dry. People are forced to buy or draw water out of most unhygienic jerricans, water tankers, rivers, water ponds or open wells. Certainly everybody has the FREE CHOICE to buy safe but expensive PROCESSED bottled water instead of risking his health by raw water consumption from unknown sources. Where are the restrictions and provisions for Kenyans’ water consumer safety and where are the 150 pages legal document protecting Kenyans from disease and death brought about by non provision of safe drinking WATER???
PROPOSED CHANGE AND SOLUTION
Extensive consumer education on the dangers of direct raw milk consumption. Stringent and very regular monitoring, testing and improving of all raw milk from all Dairy Farmers to make sure they become free of aflatoxin, antibiotic residue and any form of adulteration, additives and/or preservatives.
D) Kenya Dairy Board’s MISSION “to facilitate a sustainable dairy industry” and MANDATE “to develop and promote the KENYAN dairy industry” are seriously put into question if the provisions included in Dairy Regulations 2019 concerning importation of dairy produce are considered. They enable absolutely legal importation of dairy products from abroad at a minimal levy of 10%. This is ridiculously little in view and comparison to what kind of export subsidies most of those dairy products carry on them.
Thereby it will always be the cheapest option for a processor to simply import dairy produce in times of drought and scarcity and then refuse buying milk or only at greatly reduced purchase prices in times of glut.
PROPOSED CHANGE AND SOLUTION
Legally forcing processors to promote the LOCAL dairy industry by putting provisions into the Dairy Regulations 2019 to help stabilize the market prices through extra purchases of milk for UHT and powder production in times of plenty which can then buffer processors against shortages in not so good times.
Imposing truly punitive import levies that will make importation unsustainable rather than allowing importation at minimal charges which makes local production unsustainable. All dairy produce imported levy and customs free and/or exempt under the umbrella and protection of regional trade agreements should be thoroughly inspected for the TRUE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN. For most of them it is in fact NOT EAST AFRICA at all but they are reconstituted or straight powder milk imports from abroad.
E) Nowhere in the Dairy Regulations 2019 can be read that promoting fair trade and an open Kenyan dairy market is a goal worthy of consideration or even mention. A market economy that is just to both producers and consumers cannot exist under monopolized conditions. Monopoly is the surest way to manipulate the market and exploit both producers and consumers.
PROPOSED CHANGE AND SOLUTION
Dairy Regulations 2019 should restrict and limit single processor market shares to allow for that most essential and health competition. In the interest of both the Dairy Farmer and the consumer.
F) Even European lawmakers would probably be quite impressed by the very comprehensive and detailed 150 pages of the Kenyan Dairy Regulations 2019. But please consider that different regions, countries or even continents face very different challenges and that these and attempted solutions must also find consideration in the construct of such documents. We have no doubt that most of European countries Dairy farmers and processors would have no problem at all to fully comply with all suggested But please also consider that in those countries NOT ONE single smallholder dairy farmer is left whose sole source of livelihood is the sale of milk from his couple of cows. Those countries have perfect infrastructure with tapped water and electricity supply guaranteed 24/7 all 365 days of the year.
They have perfect environmental conditions keeping their cows stress free and healthy. Where roads even to remote farmsteads are full tarmaced and can easily carry even a 28 ton semitrailer milk tanker truck. Where perfect and guaranteed safe feeds, accurate laboratory results and genuine spare parts for high class dairy equipments can be immediately accessed just one phone call away.
Githunguri Dairy Farmers’ Cooperative with it’s Fresha product line is the closest to such ideal
conditions achievable in Kenya. And it’s the one and only example (and repeatedly presented to us as why can’t we do it too?) where cooperative pooling, cooling and processing has truly proven its viability and merits to all participants. Congratulations to them! But their success is greatly based on quite perfect environmental conditions like temperature, humidity and precipitation distribution. This makes it possible for them to achieve high milk production from their cows at minimal cost. Their success is further facilitated by as good as infrastructure gets in Kenya and by a thereby enabled extremely dense dairy cattle population. Here nobody has to trek for 20 km to reach the closest milk collection point. And the milk won’t have gone bad before reaching it either. But nowhere else in Kenya exist such close to optimum conditions.
On the other end of the scale take Kenya coast for example. Although there are still even more extreme places than that. Dairy farmers are few and far in between. Roads become totally inaccessible during rains, tapped water is absent more often than available and just the same with electricity supply. Due to most unfavorable production conditions like very poor quality forage and extremely high temperatures and humidity both in the day and at night milk production is very expensive, very low and extremely seasonal.
Most of the large commercial dairy farms have given up over the years due to unsustainability. In the last 30 years ALL attempts at commercial processing by both Dairy Farmers and processors with intakes ranging from a couple of hundred to 10,000 liters per day have given up and/or failed. Due to unsustainability or unfullfillable regulations imposed on them. Coast’s trade mark Kilifi Gold is amongst them, even giants like Molo milk and Brookside, Superiour Dairy, Mauwa Dairy, Danona LTD, Bosco Dairy, Arabuko Dairy, Patbon LTD, Herman’s and Manyeso Dairy. They all tried very hard and as much as they could. Invested millions into state of the art most modern and fully compliant dairy and processing equipment and even marketing campaigns. And failed nonetheless. There is not a single fully operational milk processing facility in all the coast right now. And exactly the same has also happened to ALL pooling and cooling stations some of which were located in remote locations like Bamba, Magarini and Tana River. Most of the milk pooled went bad due to interrupted power supply or inaccessibility of the roads used for picking up the milk. All equipment now sits there rotting and NONE is operational right now.
How is such a region supposed to make Dairy Regulations 2019 work in their inhospitable surroundings? They can’t change their unfavorable environment and they can’t change their unfavorable circumstances. But Dairy Regulations 2019 could be adjusted to cater for such Dairy farmers too, rather than condemning them to give up as they will never be able to fulfill all set out regulations. Which were constructed with perfect European conditions on the minds of their makers.
PROPOSED CHANGE AND SOLUTION
Instead of one fixed set of rules and regulations which further disadvantage all the already greatly disadvantaged regions of Kenya it would be so much better to have separate and regionally adapted and adjusted Dairy Industry Regulations 2019 which would be fully in the spirit of devolution which is so centrally anchored in the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
G) What good are 150 pages of Dairy Industry Regulations that are mostly borne out of pure theory, partially extremely impractical to the point of impossible to fulfill and therefore often simply not implementable? Designed by bureaucrats and technocrats that have never set a foot outside their luxury offices. NEVER been in the field on a Dairy Farm confronted with realities on the ground?
One practical example is the introduction (on Kenya Dairy Board’s explicit advice) of milk ATM vending machines. Huge amounts were invested by small processors and individual Dairy Farmers until it was realized (by KDB) that these machines are very difficult to maintain and operate to satisfactorily ensure continuous supply of milk truly safe for consumption.
Most users of small-scale batch pasteurizers after only few months of use usually declare them as totally impractical and many already recommend to rather invest into continuous flow technology.
This brings us to exactly the next practical example which is the present claim by Kenya Dairy Board that any Dairy Farmer can just buy a pasteurizer and then so easily and safely sell all his pasteurized milk to the consumer. Even very senior KDB staff truly seem to believe themselves what they are preaching to the dairy community.
None of them has the slightest idea what an extremely difficult and sensitive process milk pasteurization really is. For all those that dispute our claim we would strongly recommend to watch following almost century old educational clip: https://youtu.be/wmUdaB6_acY On all our travels and visits to numerous on farm processing facilities and pasteurizer manufacturers all over Kenya we have not seen a single plant or machine that is fitted with even one fail safe mechanism let alone several as described mandatory in above movie. Not one plant or machine that would still guarantee SAFE PASTEURIZED milk in a power failure scenario or when just a single component of the machine doesn’t work as intended. Not a single plant or machine that features any of the small but most important details which are described as ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to be able to produce SAFE pasteurized milk. In fact what is presently so much promoted is the surest way to truly endanger Kenyan consumers, as milk cannot be safely pasteurized with 100% guarantee in anything else but one of the large modern milk processing factories like only one or two handful exist in Kenya. No milk presently sold as “pasteurized” by farmers, through ATMs and by small processing units can be considered SAFE
as to above procedures and recommendations. Often milk is not even pasteurized at all, but only labelled as such. A shortcut often taken, rarely exposed, resulting from enforced but impossible compliance.
This is an extremely dangerous situation. When the consumer buys raw milk he usually appreciates the risk involved and takes his own precautions by simply boiling the milk. Now buying “pasteurized” milk he will not handle that milk with the same caution. Exposing the consumer UNKNOWINGLY to exactly the risks the raw milk ban was meant to protect him from.
PROPOSED CHANGE AND SOLUTION
Leave the difficult and so sensitive pasteurization process to the experts equipped with state of the art modern machinery and explicit quality testing protocols in the large processing factories. Only they have the ability to produce GUARANTEED SAFE PASTEURIZED MILK.
Rather than allowing sale of mostly unsafe “pasteurized” milk from smaller processors or farmers revert to allowing sale of CLEARLY LABELLED UNPASTEURIZED milk. This will give every consumer the fair and most essential own choice and decision of whether he wants to buy 100% guaranteed safe milk from a large processor or clearly labeled unsafe milk from the farm. Everything else is dangerously cheating the consumer on his safety expectations.
H) In one of the last Dairy Board of Kenya Stakeholders’ meeting which was organized for the Coast region one fundamental question came up: Why has milk production in the coast region declined so much over the years? As explained above milk production there has great challenges. Countrywide inflation adjusted milk producer prices have fallen to under 50% of what they were 30 years ago. Under such difficult circumstances as experienced in the coast that hits the Dairy Farmer twice as hard. So only the truly die hard and deeply passionate Dairy Farmers managed to persist until today.
Often sacrificing any financial profit on their minds against the sheer will to survive and love for their cows. Some independently done research into the reasons why Tanzania only produces milk at around 20% of it’s possible capacity came up with following reasons and explanation: “The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) representative for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mr. Amos Amore, said the trend was attributed to tough business environments such as high taxes on inputs and processing, policies, rules and regulations as well as procedures”. (By Alex Malanga from Tanzania Nation). YES, you can actually over-regulate or even regulate to death a certain industry and totally stifle a healthy growth and development in that sector.
This was also the true meaning behind the diplomatically put question at the meeting whether we really need 150 (!) pages of Dairy Industry Regulations 2019? 150 pages filled with dos and don’ts for all participants, often with close to capital punishment as the consequence of non compliance. Wouldn’t have much fewer pages have fully served their purpose too?
As our final comment a very fitting quote by Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957: “When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing. When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors (licenses, permits, etc. added by me)… – You may know that society is doomed.
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