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Govt To Certify Dairy Farmers

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Denis Nsubuga                                                                            

The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Frank Tumwebaze, has tasked the Dairy Development Authority (DDA) with developing regulations that will guide the certification of dairy farmers and cattle breeders in the country.

The new regulatory framework will check on-farm practices and breeding, as well as reward producers of quality milk by way of ensuring that they fetch higher prices locally and on the international markets.

Tumwebaze said the milk market was filled with substandard products resulting from poor practices by farmers.

Since breeding has a linkage to milk quality and quantity from cattle, the minister said regulating its quality will contribute to improving the value chain of milk in the country. DDA is mandated to provide development and regulatory services that will ensure increased production and consumption of milk. 

“You should work with the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and the National Agricultural Research Organisation to form appropriate regulations to guide certification of dairy farmers and cattle breeders,” Tumwebaze observed. 

Currently, inspection and certification by the agriculture ministry are only for importers and exporters of agricultural products. Tumwebaze made the call while handing over milking machines and chaff cutters to farmers across the country at the DDA head office in Kampala on Tuesday.

Beneficiaries included dairy farmer groups, women and intensive dairy farmers from different districts in the cattle corridor. A total of 11 co-operatives received chaff cutters, while 11 individual farmers got milking machines.

Tumwebaze said transitioning from manual to new technology uptake will not only improve productivity and quality, but also create a market for farm products. 

“We were in Algeria, and they asked about how we harvest our milk. We need a clean value chain of milk to secure international market,” he explained.

Improve quality

The agriculture state minister in charge of the animal industry, Bright Rwamirama, asked the beneficiaries to demonstrate to farmers in their communities how to use machinery to improve farm yields and promote the Government programme of agro-industrialisation.

“To add value, you must improve quality. To improve quality, we must demonstrate how to achieve it, and the best example is on the farm. Using milking machines well will be a demonstration to other farmers that you can milk cows without touching the tits. That will improve hygiene. The chaff cutters are meant to improve the diet,” he said.

To realise commercial agriculture and stop nomadism, Rwamirama said farmers must ensure that the genetics are correct and that the cattle are well-fed and healthy.

Production

Uganda produces 3.2 billion litres of milk per year. In 2021, 800 million litres of milk were consumed within the country, with over 2 billion litres available for export annually. During the 2019/2020 financial year, Uganda earned $131.5m (sh491.4b) from milk exports, according to DDA statistics.

Kenya, which is the biggest export market for Uganda’s liquid milk, has occasionally banned dairy products from the country, resulting into low prices due to plenty of milk on the local market. Currently, a 500-millilitre cup of milk costs sh700, down from about sh1,200 before the ban. 

DDA executive director Samson Mpiira said the donation of equipment to farmers was part of the ‘Clean Milk Production’ campaign, which was launched in October last year, to sensitise farmers to clean production and penetrate markets.

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