By Kellen Owente
The Dairy Development Authority (DDA) is concerned about the level of dilution of the milk transported to the commodity’s collection centres in eastern Uganda.
The concern comes after a recent random inspection that was conducted on the Jinja highway to detect the quality of milk.
“We used a lactoscan analyser to scan the milk and, to our disappointment, 50% of it was diluted,” Fredrick Mugerwa, the DDA acting regional manager in charge of eastern region, said.
He said out of the 200 samples of milk cans inspected in the region, 100 were found to be diluted, something he described as unfair and inhuman to the customers.
The lactoscan milk analyser is a portable instrument used to make a quick analysis of milk and other liquid dairy products within 30 seconds.
It can analyse the milk different lights, including fat, density, protein and salts, among others.
While addressing stakeholders gathered in Kampala recently, Mugerwa said: “Milk should have no percentage of water. When you are transporting milk to the market, you ought to respect the customers and sell them only milk. Diluting implies cheating and, therefore offenders should be reprimanded.”
He added that the adulteration of milk compromises the commodity, which leads to the significant reduction of its fat percentage.
He argued that whereas farmers or producers of this milk are doing their best, some unscrupulous distributors end up by diluting the commodity.
Mugerwa was speaking at an event in Kampala, where four co-operatives drawn from different parts of the country received dairy processing equipment to enhance the hygiene of the milk production process.
According to the Dairy Industry Act, 1998, h non-compliance with dairy standards, including adulteration with water and chemicals, bacteriological contamination, spoilage, expiry, mislabelling, less volumes, among others, attracts a six-month jail term.
Mugerwa said adulteration of milk reduces nutrition and density levels of the commodity in a human body.
He also noted that one cannot ascertain that the water used for dilution is clean and safe, hence the risk of contamination.
Nathan Magona, the DDA acting director of technical services, said as a regulatory body, they usually carry out inspection of milk-handling premises and equipment to ensure compliance with dairy standards and regulations, which in turn ensures good quality of the product.
The move, he added, helps in ensuring that the milk meets international standards.
Some of the places subject to the inspection include small scale paints or cottages, milk collection centres, road milk tankers and selling outlets.
He urged the milk distributors to operate within the diary standards.
Clean milk production
To foster clean milk production, Dairy Development Authority (DDA) last month distributed 10 milking machines, 210 milk cans and 100 milk buckets to several processing groups from four co-operatives in the country.
The milking machines have a hard stainless-steel exterior and a soft rubber liner that uses gentle suction to extract the milk from the cow’s teats manually.
The beneficiaries are Shemeza Breeders Urban farm in Mukono, Belvik in Buikwe, Gomba Dairy Farmers Co-operative and Kigombya Dairy Farm in Mukono district.
While handing over the milk equipment, the DDA acting director, Samson Akankiza, said the items distributed to the model farms will be used for demonstration purposes, whereby they should ensure that all the other dairy farmers learn and emulate their good practices of clean milk production.
As of December last year, Uganda produced 2.81 billion litres of milk annually. Of the aforementioned figure, 800 million litres were consumed within Uganda, and over two billion litres exported.
During the 2019/2020 financial year, Uganda earned $131.5m (about sh494b) from milk exports.
Dairy farming is a major activity in the south-western, central and north-eastern parts of the country, with the sector contributing significantly to the economy.
Central and western regions account for about half of the national milk production. Northern, north-eastern and eastern regions, however, always experience a drastic reduction in milk output during the dry seasons.