The Kenya Dairy Board on Wednesday, March 8, suspended the importation of milk powders in the country.
In a statement, the board announced that the decision to ban the products was made with the intention of cushioning local farmers from an influx of imported milk products that would in turn affect prices in the market.
The Kenya board further noted that milk production in Kenya was expected to increase in the near future as farmers anticipated the commencement of long rains.
Consequently, the board argued that it was prudent to make such a decision to prevent surplus production that would see milk prices drop.
“In anticipation of the long rains, the Government has stopped the importation of milk powders to cushion the industry from surplus production and low producer prices," KDB Managing Director Margaret Kibogy noted in the notice addressed to milk importers.
However, Kibogy noted that the ban was temporary and that further monitoring of milk production curves would continue to help advise the government on whether to allow the importation of milk products.
KDB's announcement came days after Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua committed to streamlining operations within the milk production sector as a way of maximizing profits realized by farmers.
Speaking while attending a church service in Kasarani, Nairobi on Sunday, March 5, the second-in-command noted that the Kenya Kwanza administration was committed to eliminating "middlemen" in the milk production cycle and other industries.
The DP has also been on record in the past vowing to revamp coffee and tea farming in the country with the long-term goal of benefitting producers.
"There has been a monopoly by one person in the milk sector. We are opening up that sector. We are going to open up the milk industry and gas industry," Gachagua noted.
Gachagua dismissed reports that the current regime was going after business empires owned by former President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition chief Raila Odinga.
Milk production levels had subsided owing to the prolonged drought in parts of Kenya or short-lived rains in milk-producing regions. In turn, Kenyans turned to products from neighbouring countries to suffice the deficit.
Uganda is one of Kenya's greatest trade partners in milk products, with statistics from the United Nations Comtrade showing that Kenya imports 74 per cent of Uganda's milk exports.