Change or leave, govt tells firm The milk war between Kenya and Tanzania has intensified with a Tanzanian Minister Dr Diodorus Kamala now insisting that Brookside Dairy Tanzania Ltd stop sending milk across the border for processing or leave the country altogether. I would like to see all Tanzanias milk being processed here. We cant turn our factory into a mere collection centre for a Kenyan factory, said Dr Diodorous Kamala when he toured the plant recently. According to Dr Kamala turning the plant into a collection point denied Tanzanians employment opportunities that they would have enjoyed if the milk was processed locally. He said the intention of the government when they privatised the company was to encourage value-addition and create employment in Tanzania. However, Brookside has argued that since there wasnt enough milk in the area where they operate, they had no option but to process in Kenya. An official of the firm declined to divulge what had been discussed with the minister saying it was being handled by the management and relevant authorities. The issue has to be looked at in a more, broader perspective and I wouldnt want to into details because that wouldnt be the right thing, said the official, But we want to pursue this issue with relevant authorities. As you know this cant solved through the media. In 2004, the Ruiru-based Brookside Dairy Ltd acquired the Arusha plant of Tanzania Dairies, ready to set up an ultra-high temperature milk processing line in Arusha. However, for nearly two years, Brookside has been collecting milk from 2,000 dairy farmers in Northern Tanzania and exporting it to Kenya for processing and packaging. Brookside says they only collect 14,000 litres a day while a factory needs at least 60,000 litres to process the milk into UHT milk on a commercially viable scale. The regional livestock officer for Arusha Hageney Chitukuro told The EastAfrican that the regional authorities found this argument by Brookside unconvincing as the region has more than enough milk. According to Mr Chitukuto, data from the 2002/2003 Agricultural sample census conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics shows that the Arusha region can produce between 200,000 and 300,000 litres a day depending on the time of the year. He added that according to a document produced by Brookside at the meeting with the minister, the company had managed to assist 65,000 Kenyan smallholder farmers engaged in milk production by providing training and other aspects related to improving the way they handle the delicate commodity. During the ministers visit, the price paid by Brookside to farmers and lack of a co-ordinated system to collect the milk came up as among the impediments to dairy farming, he said. Mr Chitukuro added that the Arusha plant needs to look at this with a view to replicating what they had done in Kenya in Tanzania so that the local farmers would also benefit by way of training in hygiene and co-ordinating collection centres. The farmers are said to selling a litre of milk for Tsh300 (0.3 US cents) to Brookside but in urban area, the same amount of milk fetches Tsh500 (Us cents 0.5). On the other hand, a half-litre packet of processed UHT milk from Brookside Kenya Ltd sells for Tsh1,100 ($1) in most Tanzanian shops including supermarkets. The refurbished Musoma Dairy has tried its hand at exporting its processed milk to Kenya only to be denied access, through non-tariff barriers applied by the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Dairy Board.