Assessment of the structure and performance of the milk market in western Kenya
Njehia, Bernard K.
Wanjala, S. P. O.
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This study sought to assess the structure and performance of the milk market in Western Kenya. Quantitative data was collected from 385 milk consumers in four counties, while qualitative data was obtained from officials of selected cooperatives, Ministry of livestock and Kenya Dairy Board. Frequencies, percentages, means, correlation and chi square tests were used to analyze data. The findings of this study revealed that farmers and traveling traders supplied 58% of total milk traded, with 70% of the milk passing through the informal channel. Problems associated with milk suppliers included adulteration with water (65.5%), addition of chemicals (18%) and physical dirt (13.5%). There was a significant correlation between channel and contamination of milk (p<0.05). The region’s milk deficit was 177million litres/year, with demand estimated to be 392 million litres against a production of 215 million litres. The main milk markets included households, hotels, institutions who bought raw milk at USD 0.70 per litre while cooperatives bought at between USD 0.37 and USD 0.65. Consumers surveyed preferred quality (56%), price (27%), quantity (9%), packaging (5%) and reliability (3%) as attributes influencing choice of milk supplier. Based on these findings, milk marketing strategy in the region should prioritize quality and pricing. Though households, hotels and institutions offered good prices, they were unsustainable, scattered and unable to absorb increased volumes in an upgrading strategy designed to increase milk production. It is recommended that cooperatives, though comparatively buy milk at lower price, are the better option.