The new Kenya Dairy Industry Regulations 2021 represent a major milestone in the ongoing agriculture sector reforms, aimed at boosting farm productivity, increasing returns for farmers, and enhancing value addition and innovation across the production and marketing chain.
The comprehensive raft of regulations seeks to address the challenges milk producers in the country have been grappling with for decades while streamlining dairy industry operations. A notable aspect is that the minimum farm gate price of Ksh33 which will introduce certainty into the market and guarantee decent returns.
The rules, now collectively known as the Dairy Industry Regulations 2021 comprise the Dairy Industry (Registration, Licensing, Cess and Levy) Regulations, the Dairy Industry (Returns, Reports and Estimates) Regulations, the Dairy Industry (Compliance Officer) Regulations and the Dairy Industry (Produce Traceability and Recall) Regulations.
Others are the Dairy Industry (Milk Sales Contracts) Regulations, the Dairy Industry (Pricing of Dairy Produce) Regulations, the Dairy Industry (Imports and Exports) Regulations, and the Dairy Industry (Dairy Produce Safety) Regulations.
While the State may appear to be over-regulating the dairy industry, triggering concerns about increased cost of production, it is important to note that each set of regulations addresses a specific industry issue.
In other words, the comprehensive nature of the rules signals a pent up need to anchor long-drawn policy reforms on a detailed legal framework covering all the salient issues facing dairy farmers.
The regulations are also the culmination of a long process to craft policy and rules to steer the sub-sector, that has been going on since 2009. Even with the launch of Sessional Paper no. 5 of 2013 on the National Dairy Development Policy, the requisite laws to give impetus to policy innovations in the industry have been lacking.
The Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture has always had the powers to develop rules governing the industry. So, the extensive rules are nothing out of the ordinary and are merely in complying with the powers are conferred by Section 19 of the Dairy Industry Act Cap 336 (the parent legislation).