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The Nation (Nairobi)
June 2, 2006
By Nation Reporter
A fresh primary school milk programme for the 7.6 million pupils could be in place soon if stakeholders have their way.
The Kenya Dairy Board (KDB), donor agencies and the Education ministry are consulting with a view to replacing the predecessor which collapsed in the 1990s.
They have formed a KDB-led committee to spearhead the process. Recently they discussed the issue with primary school heads.
Collapse of the so-called "Nyayo" school milk programme is believed to have precipitated the demise of Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC), now reincarnated as New KCC.
The farmers' organisation lost hundreds of millions in bills unpaid by the Government. "We want a low-priced product only for distribution to schools with the relevant logo," said KDB chairman Reuben Chesire.
He said good results were expected soon. This could be a major boost to the 34 milk processors, whose intake hit 340 million litres last year - a 140 per cent climb from 140 million four years back. The largest among them is New KCC followed by Brookside, Spin Knit and Githunguri.
Mr Chesire said the process would kick off with a pilot programme, probably eventually spreading to secondary schools. He said he believed the programme had been a vital source of nourishment to children before it collapsed.
The resuscitation should be a big boost especially to New KCC, fresh from supplying Sh350 million worth of milk to the Government for famine relief.
Mr Chesire was speaking during a press and industry briefing at the Hilton on the Dairy Month, which starts on June 3 and ends on July 1. The month is celebrated globally in milk-producing countries and this year's theme is Maziwa ni Tamu ("Milk is Delicious").
KDB managing director Machira Gichohi said the month, sponsored by packaging material maker Tetra Pak, was expected to promote the drinking of "certified" milk in the country.
Players would come together to chart out the course for the industry and celebrations to kick off in Kisumu at the weekend. They take place in all the provinces.
He noted that production was now reverting to the 1989 levels as the producer price had risen from Sh9 to Sh20 a litre. Exports had hit nine million.