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New Dairy Facilities To Reduce Losses

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Prossy Nandudu

Spillage while milking, spoilage due to dirty utensils used in milking, lack of storage facilities to keep the milk fresh among others are some of the ways through which the milk is wasted at post-harvest stage.  

The result is a reduced number of litters of milk, reducing farmers’ incomes who usually sell milk at the farm but also the reduced volumes for processing for the wider market.

Most post-harvest losses are a result of lack of proper milking facilities right from the farm all the way to the processing facility and later on markets.

Through the manifesto, the government wants to eliminate household poverty through agriculture, the Dairy Development Authority was tasked to ensure that dairy processing facilities are in all the four regions of the country.

 The other tasks to DDA according to the Manifesto 2021 2026, is to provide milk collection and bulk cooling facilities for storage and subsequent value addition and marketing, and ensure that regulatory authorities perform their role.

The other task is for DDA to provide free pasture seed to farmers and support livestock farmers with feed processing and conservation equipment as well as other technologies, build local capacity in conserved feed production and acquire appropriate technology for post-harvest handling of dairy products among others.

Have the targets been met?

According to the executive director of DDA Samson Akankiza, although the authority hasn’t achieved much as per the manifesto due to resource constraints, it is working on a project that will lead to the rehabilitation of mini-dairy processing facilities.

Starting with Mbale and Gulu Akankiza said that a pre-feasibility study was conducted on the two facilities. When established they will focus on value addition to reduce post-harvest losses among farmers thereby boosting milk production.

He explained that so far the authority has rehabilitated four milk collection centers in Gulu, Kitgum, Kyegegwa, Katakwi and is in the process of rehabilitating Kakoge, Kahungye and Nabiswera milk collection centers.

The rehabilitation will increase the number of rural Milk Collection Centers to 465 from 461 with an estimated capacity of 2.21 million litres.

“This is aimed at reducing Milk post-harvest losses from the increased production of quality and marketable milk and milk products,” he said.

Enforcing standards

To make sure that sector players conform to the set standards, countrywide enforcement operations were conducted targeting milk transporters using un- recommended milk handling equipment, milk and milk products adulteration.

To further ensure quality and safety of milk and milk products, but also to make sure that Uganda’s dairy products on local, regional and international markets conform to standards, the authority randomly selected and analyzed a total of 6,471 milk and milk product samples during the period, explained Akankiza.

In line with the Dairy (Marketing and processing of Milk and Milk products) Regulations,2003 as amended in 2006 and 2015, the Authority licensed and registered 1,564 dairy businesses countrywide.

These included milk sales outlets/premises, dairy equipment dealers, exporters and importers, milk processors, transporters and Milk Collection Centers and also acquired three mobile laboratories which are being used in different regions to conduct mobile testing.

But overall, Akankisa said that the authority is in the process to accredit the National Dairy Laboratory that will enable the Country to acquire National and International acceptance of test results and therefore facilitate both domestic and foreign trade.

A technical team from Algeria Ministry of Agriculture touring one of the milk processing facilities in Uganda in Jan 2023

Skills improvement in the Dairy Value chain

Establishing infrastructure like laboratories and supplying farmers with equipment may not be effective when it comes to ensuring sustainable milk production, because of the limited skills needed in the sector.

For the sector players to have the necessary skills, an incubation unit at Entebbe Dairy Training School is being revived to handle more incubates from the current two. The aim is to promote local skills and value addition in products such as yoghurt making.

The skills will be instrumental in the management of technologies for processing that the authority has procured.

Akankiza added that so far 485 milk handling equipment to different dairy stakeholders across the country have been distributed. Of these, 60 have been given to dairy cooperatives and farmer groups benefited from the milk handling equipment country wide.

“Such high grade milk handling equipment came in three sizes (50L,25L and 10L) to facilitate clean milk post-harvest storage and transportation but if not well handled can easily break down and when they breakdown, we don’t have people with skills of handling milk machinery so the training in Entebbe will help,” he added.

Sustainability of the dairy sector

To ensure continuous production of milk, DDA is also paying attention to the welfare of the livestock, in particular the dairy animals, through provision of pasture seeds to farmers.

“Pasture seeds are accompanied with feed processing and conservation equipment as well as other technologies. So far 1,891kgs of centrosema, lablab and Chloris gayana have been distributed to different dairy farmers in the Midwest, Eastern and North Eastern regions targeting 329 dairy farmers,” Akankiza added.

In addition,22 Demonstration chuff cutters and stainless steel plungers have been procured and distributed to farmer groups and selected dairy cooperatives.

To effectively utilise the pastures and make sure that animals have a consistent feed, a total of 7,959 dairy stakeholders have been trained in good dairy farming practices.

Areas covered include fodder production and conservation, silage and hay making in the different milk sheds country wide..

The above interventions by the DDA are aimed at increasing the country’s milk production for both domestic and export markets.

According to Kenneth Otikal, the Head of Planning at Dairy Development Authority, in the financial year 2021/2022, Uganda produced 3.22 billion liters of milk, an increase from 2.81 billion in the previous financial year.

 Of these only 64 liters were consumed by one person in that year, short of the World Health Organization recommendation of 200 liters per person per year.

Otikal explained that if the 64 liters consumed by each Ugandan is multiplied with Uganda’s population of 40 million people, it means Ugandans consumed an estimated 2b liters of milk last year, leaving out a surplus of about 1.2b which has since been exported.

Where are the markets

Although Uganda has been having some trade issues as far as dairy products destined for Uganda is concerned, DDA managed to secure other markets for its milk products.

 The latest is Algeria, which for the start will be taking Uganda’s powder milk. Other new markets are Zambia and Turkey and this will boost milk exports.

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