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Kenya Dairy Board Proposes Comprehensive Regulatory Framework to Enhance Dairy Sector Development and Ensure Product Quality.

The Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) is advocating for the implementation of a robust regulatory framework in Kenya’s dairy sector, both at the national and county levels. The aim is to ensure that milk and milk product enterprises adhere to quality and safety standards. Dr. Margaret Kibogy, the Managing Director of KDB, emphasized the significance of this framework in protecting consumers, promoting private sector participation, attracting investment, and facilitating trade within the dairy industry, not only in Kenya but also in international markets.

Currently, Kenya aligns its regulations with global international standards for agricultural trade arrangements as stipulated by the World Trade Organization, of which Kenya became a member in 1995. However, the existing legislation governing the dairy subsector, enacted in 1958, does not align with modern farming practices and technological advancements. The Draft Dairy Industry Bill of 2023 seeks to address this by recognizing not only cow milk but also sheep, goat, and camel milk.

The proposed bill aims to improve productivity and competitiveness in the dairy industry, expand the domestic market, and transform Kenya into a net exporter to regional and global markets. It will encourage locals to engage in commercial dairy farming, provide legal support for the dairy value-addition chain, and pave the way for the establishment of a corporation to coordinate activities within the sector.

Dr. Kibogy highlighted that milk, primarily produced by smallholder dairy farmers under three main production systems, is in high demand due to population growth, urbanization, and rising incomes. To meet this demand, the government has prioritized national strategic plans such as the Dairy Master Plan, which provides guidance for the sector’s development until 2030.

In terms of standards, Dr. Kibogy mentioned the significance of the sanitary and phytosanitary standards agreement, which encompasses regulations related to labeling requirements, nutrition claims, quality standards, and packaging regulations.

The dairy industry in Kenya plays a crucial role in supporting the livelihoods of approximately 1.8 million smallholder farmers and contributes around four percent to the national GDP. The sector has been experiencing steady growth, with an estimated annual growth rate of five percent, and the current milk production stands at 5.2 billion liters per year.

According to the 2020 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics report, milk and milk products have the highest per capita consumption in Kenya, followed by maize, wheat, and vegetables. This demonstrates the significant role of dairy in the country’s food consumption patterns and highlights the need for a well-regulated and thriving dairy sector.

The proposed strong regulatory framework, if enacted, will not only ensure the quality and safety of dairy products but also create an enabling environment for growth, innovation, and investment in Kenya’s dairy industry. It will contribute to the country’s economic development and enhance its position in both domestic and international dairy markets.

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