School Milk Program Makes Comeback

USAID Kenya and Kenya Dairy Board Revive School Milk Program

The school milk concept was first introduced to Kenya by former President Daniel Arap Moi in 1979 and ended around 1992. Thanks to dedicated county governments and a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB), the program is now making a comeback. In April, Migori County adopted this important program which will provide about 78,000 students with free milk twice a week.

“By investing in this school milk program, we’re providing our children with healthy benefits that go into ensuring proper development and concentration during class,” Migori Governor Okoth Obado said.

Establishing a sustainable school milk program requires dialogue and negotiations between dairy processors, suppliers, service providers and development partners. This year, the USAID Kenya Agriculture Value Chains project is working with KDB and several county governments to help revive it in public schools as part of efforts to increase the student’s consumption of dairy products.

School milk programs not only positively contribute to the growth of the dairy sector, but they also improve nutrition and increase school attendance.  The schools taking part in the program provide a guaranteed market for milk for smallholder farmers, who produce about 80 percent of Kenyan milk.  And, students get important nutrients they may miss out on if the milk was not available at the schools.

Through partnership with USAID and the KDB a minimum of 10 counties will receive technical support to set up the necessary regulatory framework for a county school milk program. Siaya, Machakos and Kakamega counties have also expressed interest.