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Rationale for hosting the Dairy Centre of Excellence in Kenya

The dairy sub-sector in Kenya is amongst the biggest per capita milk producing and consuming countries in the region. It was on this basis that Kenya was chosen to host the Regional Dairy Centre of Excellence (RDCoE). This sector contributes 3.5% of total GDP and is considered the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa. The sector is dominated, at the producer level, by smallholders farmer and at the marketing level by informal sector traders and hawkers. At present, a large proportion of marketed milk (86%) is sold informally. The livelihoods of millions of people in the country depend on these informal milk markets, which are often the sole source of income for small-scale dairy producers and jobs for thousands of unskilled youth. It is estimated that, from smallholders farmers (producers) to milk hawkers, nearly 1 million households and businesses are involved. Informal milk sector accounts for more than 70% of 40,000 jobs in dairy marketing alone and further directly supports over 350,000 others in formal employment. Considering that there are 1 million smallholders’ farmers, for whom dairy is a family business, it is likely that more than 2 million people derive living from the dairy sector through their involvement in production, marketing and service provision.

Kenya was selected to host the dairy RDCoE because it is national priority with: (1) proven potential for sub regional spillovers, (2) proven potential for leadership in dairy, (3) it is aligned with regional priorities as defined by ASARECA, (4) proven potential to address both immediate and long-term food security needs and, (5) Kenya demonstrated interest to support the development of the RDCoE.