September 2020 was a very strategic month for two counties in Kenya. Nyandarua and Nakuru counties launched their County Dairy Strategic Plans on 4th and 14th September respectively. The development of the strategies was made possible through partnership between the county governments and SNV under the Voice for Change Partnership programme (V4CP).
Throwing it back two years, these counties approached SNV’s V4CP through its partner CSO - Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) to develop strategic plans and policies for the dairy sectors. These counties included Murang’a, Laikipia, Nyandarua and Nakuru; all of which rank high for quantity of milk production in the country.
High production is not enough
Despite high milk production levels, these counties failed to get the full benefit from their dairy sectors due to inefficiencies in the value chains, that lead to milk losses and prevent sector expansion into new markets.
A 2018 IFPRI report showed that milk and dairy products are negatively implicated in food-borne disease occurrence. A report by 3R Kenya project further observed that milk quality assurance is a persistent problem in the Kenya dairy sector. Eventually, safety of dairy products cannot be guaranteed because consumers are unwilling to pay a premium for processing and the sector competitiveness in the regional market is compromised.
Based on these findings, SNV through V4CP, supported the county governments’ dairy stakeholders and consumer, in developing the dairy strategic plans. The process entailed analyzing the value chain with a food safety lens.
With the strategic plans finalized for Murang’a, Nakuru and Nyandarua counties, attracting private sector investment is now easy. Lobbying for increased budgetary allocation to critical government services such as agriculture extension to enhance milk production, quality and safety also stands a better chance.