Low milk hides, prices hurting our farmers

For a country to feed itself, it must ensure that its farmers get the inputs they need to produce enough food for local consumption and a surplus for export.

Agriculture, which is the mainstay of the economy plays a major role in development of the nation. It is for this reason that is it important to fully support the sector, if only to ensure Kenyans have enough food to eat.

This necessitates creation of a conducive environment by the government by ensuring that there are enough inputs like fertilizer, certified seeds and affordable credit for the farmers, among other incentives.

This is necessary if the country is to achieve self-sufficiency in food supply. Currently, the dairy industry and livestock traders are facing challenges due to infiltration of the market by milk constituted from milk powder imported from neighbouring countries.

 The farmers are crying foul, alleging that some of the counterfeit dairy products from neighbouring countries, which are sold cheaply, are unfit for human consumption.

The dumping of foreign goods in the local market is a threat to local dairy farmers who are now unable to sell their milk. Some farmers in Kajiado and Narok counties are reported to have resorted to feeding dogs with the  milk at it only fetches low profits.

A litre sells for as low as Sh 20.Some farmers were said to pour down the milk in frustration. The problem has been exacerbated by middlemen who have taken advantage of the situation to continue exploiting the farmers.

Livestock traders who sell hides and skins, too, have not been spared as the unscrupulous middlemen pay them peanuts. We appeal to the relevant arm of government to intervene as the current low prices of milk and hides and skins are demoralizing herders.

Unless this trend stops, the country will be a big loser as local industries collapse due indiscriminate importation of farm produce. The government has a duty to motivate our farmers to produce more food. 

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