MPs take new milk rules back to public

A House committee has directed Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) to engage the public before coming up with new regulations to guide the dairy industry.

The Delegated Legislation Committee of the National Assembly met Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimutai and the management of KDB, led by Margaret Kibogy, yesterday and cautioned that it will not hesitate to annul the proposed regulations unless the same are subjected to public participation.

The House committee met the leaders to find out the status of formulation of guidelines after the board succumbed to public pressure and withdrew controversial rules it had drafted.

The proposed regulations, described as offensive by a section of industry players and civil society organisations as well as political leaders, sought to bar any person from selling raw milk.

The offenders risked a fine of at least Sh500,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.

Uasin Gishu County Woman Representative Gladys Shollei, who chairs the Delegated Legislation Committee, warned KDB that it was wrong to publish the regulations before engaging the committee, even as the board insisted that the regulations were to be subjected to public views.

Ms Shollei directed KDB to speed up the process of undertaking a comprehensive public participation so that local milk producers are not disadvantaged.

The Statutory Instruments Act provides that Parliament must adopt all the regulations developed by State agencies before they are implemented.

Shollei also wondered why KDB was so keen on having the public consume processed milk.“Our people have been pasteurising milk in their own way and fashion since time immemorial. These regulations are from another world,” she said, as she dismissed the purported public participation meetings KDB did with County Executive Committee members from all the 47 counties.

On March 25, 2019, KDB succumbed to pressure from Kenyans and withdrew the proposed regulations meant to regulate the dairy industry.

In a statement last week, Ms Kibogy said the suspension was done to create room for consultations and further public participation.

But yesterday, Mr Kimutai promised to ensure that the country has the best set of laws to govern the industry even as he allayed fears of mischief.

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