Dairy board allays fears on milk import from America

A man secures empty milk cans on his motorbike at Mwiciune in Imenti South. The dairy sector regulator says it will protect the local industry from American imports. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Last week, Kenyan dairy farmers protested the push by their US peers for unfettered access into the local market in the proposed free trade agreement between Nairobi and Washington.
  • Kenya Dairy Board on Thursday acknowledged that the influx of milk imports will threaten the local dairy sector but did not cite the specific measures they were to put in place following farmer’s outcry.

The dairy sector regulator has assured farmers that measures will be put in place to cushion them against milk imports as Kenya seeks a new trade deal with the US.

Kenya Dairy Board on Thursday acknowledged that the influx of milk imports will threaten the local dairy sector but did not cite the specific measures they were to put in place following farmer’s outcry.

“They have a surplus of over 250 million litres and if we are to allow these imports, it will have a negative impact on our sector, in the country and on the continent.

“We want to continue protecting this sector and as much we want to open up trade with the US, we strongly feel that if we allow free trade of milk, this can affect our sector,” said Kenya Dairy Board Managing Director Margaret Kibogy.

“Farmers have raised their concerns and we want to assure our farmers that we will continue protecting this sector,” added the official.

Free trade area

The MD said Kenya is eyeing a share of the African market for dairy products with the continental free trade area in January following delays occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Parts of West Africa import a lot of milk to a tune of $13 million to $20 million due to a deficit that results in trade imbalances. This is an opportunity for dairy farmers in the continent that need to be exploited,” she noted.

Last week, Kenyan dairy farmers protested the push by their US peers for unfettered access into the local market in the proposed free trade agreement between Nairobi and Washington.

Producers were reacting to a bid by the US dairy lobby to push their country’s negotiating team in the trade deal talks to secure a reduction of tariffs imposed on milk exports to the Kenyan market.

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