Kenya aims to double its production of high-value dairy products amidst a surplus in milk production, thereby expanding its export footprint beyond the East African region.

Margaret Kibogy, managing director of the Kenya Dairy Board, said that presently, only 15 percent of total milk production is transformed into premium products, including cheese, powdered milk, ice cream, and butter.

The burgeoning surplus in the country is prompting processors to scale up production, not only to mitigate milk wastage but also to foster international trade expansion.

“This surplus provides us with an opportunity to enhance the production of high-value dairy products, enabling us to double our exports to East African nations and extend our market reach to the Middle East,” Ms Kibogy said.

She further revealed that the value of milk products exported last year amounted to approximately Ksh5 billion, a figure they aspire to duplicate in 2023.

Ms Kibogy, in her regulatory capacity, assured preparedness to manage the anticipated milk surplus resulting from favourable weather conditions in the country.

“Handling a surge in supply is not a novel challenge for us, as we have successfully managed similar situations in the past, occurring approximately every five years,” she remarked.

Currently, the country is experiencing an uptick in average monthly milk production, with volumes rising from 70 million to 80 million litres.

Ms Kibogy shared these insights during the launch of the Kenya Dairy Industry Sustainability Roadmap, an initiative designed to mitigate the impact of climate change attributable to the dairy sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The roadmap also aims to ensure that at least 80 percent of the country’s total milk output undergoes the cold chain system, whether traded formally or informally.

Additionally, the initiative seeks to elevate the proportion of formally traded milk from the current 20 percent to a target of at least 60 percent.

Ms Kibogy outlined the strategy to achieve this goal, stressing the need to bring cooperatives closer to farmers, facilitating the efficient chilling and subsequent sale of their milk to processors.