Heifer international with funding from aBi-Development on Saturday gave out equipment to dairy farmers as a way of enhancing milk quality and production in Uganda.
The equipment handed over include; 25 fodder processing machines, 5 sets of yoghurt processing equipment for the cottage industry. These include 5 deep freezers, milk cans, sealers, packaging materials and flavours, Assorted AI kits (3-3 litres field flasks, 3- 45 litres nitrogen tanks, and AI guns).
While speaking at the hand over ceremony at Heifer international offices in Kampala, Dr Joshua Zimbe- the Project Manager of Accelerate Dairy Production and Productivity (ADAP), noted that machines will increase productivity of milk by addressing the dry season feeding gap and position the farmers to tap into an expanding milk market.
He noted that before the new initiative of the machines, farmers first went through pieces of training and from January 2020 to date, the ADAP project implementation team has been able to mobilize and train 3,389 (593 females and 2,796 males) dairy farmers in dairy productivity enhancement technologies, clean milk production, business management, leadership, credit, and lending among others.
Due to the training, milk productivity has increased in cooperatives from 23,671,138 litres in 2020 to 27,967,904 litres in 2021. Revenue from milk sales at these corps also increased from Shs18.7bn to 31.5bn (64 per cent growth) – this is mainly due to a reliable market from JESA (74 per cent of the revenue being payments from milk sold to JESA) and strengthened leadership and management at the cooperatives.
The average price per litre of raw chilled milk also increased from Shs790 in 2020 to Shs1,196 in 2021 and there is an increase of credit access to farmers whereby Shs1.5bn (coming from Heifer investment fund and local financial institutions) has been accessed and invested in dairy enterprises by the 3,389 (593 females) farmers.
“In a special way, I want to thank the dairy farmers for their contribution of Shs75 million (26 per cent) towards the procurement of these fodder processing machines that cost us a total of Shs285,615,000. The farmers’ contribution is a positive indicator of farm mechanization adoption by farmers. Our role is to stimulate this adoption, create demand and strengthen the linkages (farmer and input suppliers). These machines will increase production and productivity of milk by addressing the dry season feeding gap and position the farmers to tap into an expanding milk market,” Dr Zimbe said.
The State Minister for Animal Industry Lt. Col (RTD) Hon. Bright Rwamirama, welcomed the initiative and urged farmers to use machines for their own good to get out of poverty and transform the sub sector into a well functioning dairy value chain.
“I have the pleasure to officiate at this occasion for Handing over of feed and fodder and breeding equipment to dairy farmers under the support of Heifer international with funding from aBi-Development. This equipment will be instrumental in enhancing dairy production and productivity. This initiative fits very with government strategy of commercializing agriculture and thus achieving the agro-industrialization agenda,” he said.
Hon Rwamirama also revealed that although the Dairy Development annual report 2020/2021 indicates that the country produces 2.81 billion litres, Uganda failed to meet the target of 3.0 billion litres due to productivity issues.
“Critically to this, is lack of dry season feeding by farmers which results in significant production drop by almost 50 per cent. Therefore, it’s critical that farmers adopt mechanization and other good and efficient animal husbandry practices to maximize the potential that the dairy sector provides. Processors like Jesa dairies and others are expanding their processing capacity an indication that there are more opportunities for you farmers and others value chain actors,” he said.
The minister added: “Investing in farmers is central to making the dairy value chain function well. The Uganda dairy farmer is at the point where he/she needs a lot of support to enable them to move to commercialization. The pieces of training you are providing, extension services, inputs and equipment, using business models, is a good approach. It’s sustainable and enables impact at scale.”
The Chief Executive Officer of aBi Development, Mona Muguma-Ssebuliba also noted that the current fortunes in the dairy sector are attributed to different interventions especially such as increasing the production of sufficient, better & safe dairy products in Uganda.
Ms Muguma asserted that aBi’s funding to the dairy value chain has created employment, increased net income at the enterprise level, and increased volumes of milk collected translating to increased incomes of dairy farmers.
“Therefore, we acknowledge the government’s contribution in creating an enabling policy environment. As we handover this equipment today to the farmer cooperatives, we look forward to the realization of the project objectives. We thank our partners, Heifer International and JESA Farm Dairy for bringing us to this point today in the life of the project.”
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