Milk farmers turn to hawkers for profits

Milk in kipkelion town by African Rev.JPG

Farmers milking. Farmers are selling milk to hawkers to make more profits.  Photo by Africa Review.

As dairy companies double the cost of milk for consumers, farmers are directly selling the commodity to hawkers to earn more than twice what the firms are offering.

Kericho County farmer, Robert Langat is selling one litre of milk to the informal buyers at Sh70.

“The milk companies have almost doubled the cost of the product in the last two months without taking the farmers into consideration. I am paid Sh33 per litre while a 500ml packet of milk costs between Sh60 and Sh70 in retail outlets. No need of fighting with companies when I can sell the milk to ready buyers here at Kipkelion,” he said.

About two months ago, a 500ml packet of milk cost Sh50; but the same quantity has risen to more than Sh70 after processing.

The countrywide drought caused a sharp milk deficit, necessitating the price increase. According to Langat, the farmer’s cost of production increased too, but the companies never raised the payment.

Milk in major towns like Nairobi is costing about Sh95 per litres if one buys from automated teller machines.

The hawkers, who are in the rural area, are offering more than Sh60 for every litre of milk for sale in Nairobi and other towns. This is almost double what the dairy companies are offering farmers.

“I stopped buying dairy meal. It was too expensive for me. Hay, which cost about Sh170, has risen to over Sh400. How do I recover my money if I continue selling to the dairy companies?” he posed.

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Although the rains are falling and pastures are regenerating, the farmer said, once the cost of production comes down, and the milk is in plenty, he will go back to the dairy companies. He says farmers have turned to this informal market to reap from the high demand.

Langat sells 26 litres on average per day from his three hybrid cows.

The yield has dropped by half since the drought struck the country from September 2016.