Written by Carren Papai
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Residents of Malaba town have raised concern over shortage of milk in the border town.
They claim that for a month the commodity has been very scarce in the shops leading to shooting up of prices.
For instance, a 250 Ml packet is currently retailing at between Ksh35 and Ksh40 while the 500Ml is going at Ksh80.
Hotel owners said that they avoid preparing milk tea since it would be a loss if they sell at the same amount they used to sell before the shortage. They claim that they currently prepare black tea only while some hotels have raised their prices for milk tea.
“Milk shortage has caused a crisis on our businesses because we can hardly get the commodity. The little milk you get is very expensive. We are at times forced to prepare black tea because milk tea will make us incur losses,” said Jairus Okwakau a local hotel manager.
Residents of the border region say that milk has become a very luxurious commodity that has been made a preserve of the rich. Many retailers have turned to buying milk from Uganda though they claim that it is more risky to buy milk there since it cannot be replaced in case it is found bad.
“We go as far as Tororo in Uganda looking for milk because that is the only place it is available. It is however risky because incase the milk goes bad, it can’t be replaced meaning that we will have to bear the losses,” said Michael Murimi a retailer.
Farmers blame the milk shortage in Teso region to livestock disease outbreak that hit the region in 1997 wiping away all the livestock in the region.
They are calling upon the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to provide extension services to as to encourage farmers to start rearing dairy animals. They claim that the region has potential for dairy farming and can be self reliant in milk production if veterinary services are availed.
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