Friday, March 05, 2010

Big Milk Cheese

A few days ago we saw on the news tons of milk going down the drain [Citizen TV video]. Literally. On our pages, Patrick Gathara takes a look at the Kenyan milk sector: our consumption, production and distribution. His findings, while interesting, are not surprising. We produce a lot of milk and drink more than milk than any country in the developing world (save for Mauritania and Mongolia). So what's the problem? Find out:
But there is a more fundamental problem for the Ministry and the KDB. If, as the Export Processing Zones Authority asserts, the total inbuilt processing capacity is 2.5 million litres a day, why are milk processors struggling to cope with a surge of just over half of that? To blame the entire crisis on a single machine, on milk powder whose consumption is a tiny fraction local production, or on overstretched dairies reluctance to absorb more milk simply smacks of scape-goating.
The truth is the Kenyan milk crisis is largely as a result of long-term inefficiencies and weaknesses in the sector. It was entirely foreseeable, and therefore preventable, or at the very least, its worst effects could have been prevented. To find the real culprits, the Minister, like his minions at the KDB and NKCC, just has to take a long hard look in the mirror.