Kenya Dairy Sector To Quadruple In Size

KENYA - The Kenyan dairy sector could more than quadruple in size and earn the country in excess of Ksh300 billion, according to a report launched by Tetra Pak East Africa, a leading food processing and packaging solutions company reports Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.
calendar icon 31 May 2011
clock icon 4 minute read

The report says that in 2009, Kenya earned Ksh64 billion from 3.7 billion litres of milk and only 200 million litres of milk is processed by the various manufacturers the rest is consumed a homes, sold raw or considered a waste because it did not meet the required standard for manufacturing.

"Based on these findings, we estimate that if we turn this model on its head and process all our milk, the country could easily earn in excess of Ksh300 billion. However, we are cognisant of the fact that the country will have to re-think its dairy sector development strategy, invest in the necessary infrastructure as well as give the necessary incentives to encourage the private sector to build more milk processing plants", Ms Helen Too, Tetra Pak Marketing Director said.

She added; "Do you remember the milk glut of 20 which saw millions of litres of milk go to waste and the deficit 2009 where milk prices rose could be a thing of the past if we embrace processed milk and this long-life milk campaign by Tetra Pak Eastern Africa and key milk processors in Kenya is aimed at doing just that."

During the 2010 milk glut, the country is estimated to have lost over Ksh4billion as milk processors turned away dairy farmers because they did not have the processing capacity to handle the glut. This forced farmers to pour out their milk and incur huge losses.

Commenting, Lucy Oduor the Tetra Pak Dairy Category Manager said, "We are aware that when rains are plentiful and pasture available in the milk producing areas, milk production peaks to levels above the current processing capacity. In case of draught, the country faces a severe milk deficit.

"Long-life milk helps ease these supply side challenges so that in times of excessive milk production, the milk will be converted into long-life milk thus minimizing waster because the long life milk can be stored for up to 6 months. This will help the country take care of excess supply and also have a buffer to see it through deficit periods. To the consumer this is a huge boost because the shelf price can be guaranteed with a lot more certainty."

She said that the campaign would have a significant impact on the entire milk production value chain thereby helping Kenyan dairy farmers recoup their investments in quality animals, feed and veterinary services.

Dr A. Kamalzadeh, a dairy consultant, "Long-life milk has significant health benefits, the fact that it is packaged under aseptic conditions, ensures it retains most of its nutrients unlike other forms of processed milk".

"The difference between fresh and long life milk is the method of processing. Fresh milk is processed through a process called pasteurization which involves heating milk to between 72 and 78°C for at least 15 seconds before it is cooled and packed. Long life milk on the other hand, is heated to 140°C for two seconds and then packaged aseptically. The higher temperature at which long life milk is treated kills most bacteria, other disease causing pathogens and also destroys heat resistant enzymes thus giving long-life milk an extended shelf life", said Dr Kamalzadeh.

Nutritionists consider milk as a whole meal and when processed and packaged, also ensures that vitamins present in milk are not destroyed by environmental elements.

"In instances where milk is packaged in glass, plastic or open containers, it is often exposed to light and other environmental elements resulting in destruction of valuable vitamins and nutrients," added Dr Kamalzadeh.

Increased consumption of long-life milk is expected to act as a stimulus to the dairy processors to increase the production capacity to meet this high demand. This has a positive knock on effect on the dairy sector value chain.

In addition to the installation of ultra-heating equipment at leading processing plants in the region, Ms Too said that Tetra Pak is also keen on supporting dairy farmers directly through creation of dairy hubs. The Dairy hubs are centres created in partnership with milk processors such as New KCC and the East African Dairy Development Project (EADD). Tetra Pak recently commissioned the Metkei Dairy Hub in, Keiyo South which benefits over 2,000 registered farmers.

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