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The rich also cry: Brookside shuts down milk factory



Brookside Dairies, a company owned by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family, has become the latest victim of the poor economic situation that has since multiple companies downsize or shut down.

Brookside Dairies on Thursday announced it would be shutting down its Taita Taveta regional factory, Wumingu Cooling Plant, effective March 1st 2020.

The Ruiru-based company cited losses as the reason for closing down the factory that has in the past decade offered jobs and a livelihoods to hundreds of locals in the area.

Wumingu Cooling Plant, located in Wundanyi town, has a capacity of processing 10,000 litres of milk on a daily basis.

In 2017, Brookside paid Taita Taveta dairy farmers a total of Sh52 million for supply of raw milk at the Wumingu plant.

The company’s exit from the region is expected to cause a setback for dairy farmers as the company has hitherto bought over 45 percent of the entire raw milk in Taita Taveta.

The country has witnessed numerous shutting down or downsizing as the economic situation has deteriorated.

The Jubilee government has been blamed for the tough economic climate that has been attributed to unfriendly government macroeconomic policies.

In 2019, data from the Registrar of Companies, 388 companies had been dissolved between March and August alone with the situation expected to get worse in 2020 – according to Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge.

By Pulse

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Dreamliner KQ ranked last among 10 carriers in the Middle East and Africa



A strike and pilot sabotage are among factors that dragged Kenya Airways to the bottom of Middle East and African carriers’ ranking in the 2019 on-time performance (OTP) review.

The update done by Cirium, a London-based airlines advisory and consultancy firm, rates global airlines through their on-time arrivals, departures, average delay in minutes per flight and those that operate within scheduled time.


The airline was ranked last among the 10 carriers in Middle East and Africa, a blow to the carrier that saw its losses double last year.

The rating saw Kenya’s national carrier come in 10th with a 72.25 per cent on time arrival of flights just below Addis Ababa-based Ethiopian Airlines at 74.22 per cent.

Qatar Airline was ranked top with 82.45 per cent on time arrival, followed by Dubai-headquartered Emirates Airlines at 81.02 per cent and troubled South African Airlines at 79.38 per cent, coming a close third in terms of punctuality.

KQ had an average of 47 minutes in delays for its over 54,061 flights it operated last year, a slight improvement of its 50 minutes in 2018.

“Arriving on time at a destination is becoming increasingly important to millions of both leisure and business passengers around the world every day. Therefore, our on-time performance review 2019 is designed to inspire airlines and airports to continually innovate to improve their performance,” the report said.


Kenya Airways Director of Operations Capt Paul Njoroge attributed the poor show in flight performance to aircraft withdrawals as a result of collision mid last year and industrial action by the airlines unionised employees.

“We were then negatively affected by the withdrawal of two aircraft due to the unfortunate incident in the hangar.

This was then coupled by the Kenya Airlines Workers Union (KAWU) strike and pilot shortage in the second and third quarter of last year, which saw the on time performance drop to as low as 67 per cent in August 2019,” Capt Njoroge said, adding that this was way below the 81 per cent performance they had achieved by April of last year.

In February last year, two of the airline’s Embraer 190 aircraft collided in the hangar while undergoing maintenance which saw them withdrawn from service.

Three months later, the airline’s unionisable employees under KAWU went on strike, protesting against the proposed merger between the national carrier Kenya Airways and the airports regulator. This saw more than 24 of its flights cancelled, while more suffered incessant delays.

By Nation

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Kenya to import US wheat from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington



Kenya has agreed to lift a decade-old prohibition on US wheat following a deal between President President Uhuru Kenyatta and Donald Trump.

It will see American wheat from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington states shipped to Kenya regardless of state of origin or port of export, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a statement.

For the last 12 years, Kenya has locked wheat from the three states, citing prevalence of a fungal disease known as flag smut of wheat (urocystis agropyri).

“American farmers in the Pacific Northwest now have full access to the Kenyan wheat market,” USDA Undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programms Greg Ibach said in a statement.

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) and APHIS/PPQ of the US signed the Export Certification Protocol allowing the wheat imports to Kenya on January 28.

The protocol gives US exporters full access to Kenya’s wheat market, valued at nearly Sh50 billion ($500 million) annually.

Kenya is a net importer of wheat, bringing in two-thirds of its requirement to meet the annual consumption of 900,000 tonnes against the production of 350,000 tonnes.

Kenya charges 10 percent duty on all imported wheat, which is cheaper than the locally-produced commodity.

As part of the technical agreement, APHIS of the US will enhance general surveillance for the fungal-disease-prone wheat.

The win for US farmers comes amid discussion for a free trade pact between Nairobi and Washington.

“Going forward, the USDA team looks forward to building on this success and further strengthening our relationship with Kenya as we pursue a new bilateral free trade agreement that will create additional market opportunities for US producers and exporters,” said US Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney in a statement.

President Trump and President Kenyatta announced intention to start formal talks on a trade agreement.

President Kenyatta had said a new trade deal could make Kenya a hub for US companies doing business in Africa.

By Nation

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How Kajiado traders sneak in plastic bags



The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) is on the spot over the resurgence of plastic bags in Kajiado urban centres.

The banned wrappers are sneaked into the country through porous border points.

Two years since the government imposed a ban on single use plastic bags — one of the most pervasive sources of pollution countrywide — unscrupulous traders have found ways of bringing them back.

Minting millions
In Kajiado, traders are said to be using Namanga and Tarakea towns in Loitoktok, minting millions of shillings.

A spot check in Namanga and Kitengela retail markets indicated that retailers are using plastic bags to pack products.

Shoppers no longer spot woven basket bags like before, when the ban was imposed.

Two border points
“We have had a constant supply of plastic bags. We thought the ban was lifted? It might be illegal but no trader can avoid them in such tough economic times,” said Ms Nancy Njeri, a trader at Kitengela retail


Kajiado county environment chief officer, Mr James Sankale, said the situation is dire, blaming poor law enforcement by Nema.

Mr Sankale says single-use plastic bags have once again become the biggest menace in the region.

“The environment body must move with speed to gazette more environment officers to tackle the menace.

It’s good for Nema to engage other stakeholders to ensure the past two years’ efforts don’t go into waste,” said Mr Sankale.

The vast county has two border points but with just three environment inspectors.

Late last year, Nema officers raided several shops in Kitengela and arrested several suspects but supplies remain uninterrupted.

Unscrupulous dealers “Most consignments are first held at godowns in Maili Tisa, Ngatatoek and Ilbisil towns along Namanga road before they are supplied to customers in different locations countrywide,” said a source who requested not to be named for fear of reprisals.

Unscrupulous dealers
are said to collude with government officers from different departments manning the border points to bring in the wares. Tarakea in Loitoktok is said to be the most preferred route.

The government expects to completely wipe out single-use plastic bags by June.

We have had a constant supply of plastic bags. We thought the ban was lifted? It might be illegal but no trader can avoid them in such tough economic times.”

By Daily Nation

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