Kakamega Prisons officer Fredrick Misoi inspects fodder grass. The rains may cause a drop in milk yield in weeks. Photo by Laban Robert
The onset of rains in most parts of the country may see a drop in the cost of fresh milk and other agricultural produce prices, which have sharply risen due to the prolonged drought lasting for more than four months.
The Kenya Meteorological Department has announced that the rains will continue until June this year, a factor that will allow for regeneration of cultivated and free-range pastures for livestock.
High prices of maize, which a 90kg bag costing up to Sh4,800 in Kisumu, has contributed to the high cost of milk as it is used in the manufacturing of feeds.
The cost of a 70kg bag of feed rose by between Sh200 and Sh300 as more livestock in the Northern and Rift valley regions succumbed to starvation.
A 500ml packet of fresh milk is retailing at between Sh60 and Sh65 in most retail outlets. Less common brands are retailing at Sh50 and Sh60. Retailers who had stocks of long life milk are cashing in on the shortage, by making profits of more than Sh10 per packet.
A 200ml packet that cost Sh20 is not selling at Sh25.
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The rains are falling in most parts of the country, with North Eastern receiving the latest showers, which caused deaths of more than 500 sheep in Wajir North and tens of other livestock in Mandera - according to the Kenya Red Cross.
Most Rift Valley and central Kenya farmers rely on direct pastures, with more others using daily meal and fodder to feed their livestock.
The rains will increase the fodder, Napier and other grasses in a month, therefore, giving livestock plenty of feeds for more milk.
Tomatoes have also increased in process with a crate of 64kg costing up to Sh7,000 in Nairobi from Sh4,000 in October last year.