Dairy farmers in Kyankwanzi lose Shs15m to power outages

Dairy farmers in Kiboga and Kyankwanzi districts have said they lose about 2,000 liters of milk worth Shs15m after every two weeks due to power outages.
The farmers also attribute the losses to poor infrastructure and the milking process.
Currently, a liter of milk at the trading center costs Shs750.
Mr Johnson Kwesigabo, the chairperson of Dwaniro Dairy Farmers’ Cooperative in Kiboga, said in September and October, about 10 trucks of milk with a capacity of 10,000 liters were rejected by Jesa Farm when the generators had broken down.

“Each truck is about Shs15m, so you can see the size of the loss,” Mr Kwesigabo said.
However, he said such losses can be avoided with the use of clean and reliable energy like solar.
“We have resorted to using diesel powered generators that are expensive to operate and maintain. We spend 40 percent of the cooperative’s operating costs on diesel and maintaining the generators,” Mr Kwesigabo said this week.
“Dairy farmers in rural areas can hardly access reliable markets, and those that do are challenged by the low and fluctuating prices as well as the poor road infrastructure,” he added.

Mr Samuel Kajwenje, a dairy farmer in Kiboga, said the farm gate milk price is still very low, which affects the farmers.
“The Shs750 is lower than the price of a bottle of drinking water that costs Shs1,000. We supply more than 35,000 liters of milk per week to Jesa Farm Dairy Ltd at a fair price, and we are confident of a steady market for our milk all year,” Mr Kajwenje said.
Last month, Heifer International Uganda started a project to empower dairy farmers in Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Mityana Wakiso, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, and Kayunga districts to increase milk production, quality, improve access to reliable markets, maintain quality farm inputs, and access reliable services .

According to Dr Joshua Zimbe, the project manager, they have been able to increase the quantity of milk in seven projected areas.
“The milk production has increased from 23 million liters in 2020 to 27 million liters in 2021, and it is projected to reach 35 million liters by the end of this year. This milk is distributed to dairy processing companies at a premium price,” Mr Zimbe said.
He said the project has also improved the livelihoods of farmers and their families, which also contributes to the economic transformation of the country.
The Dwaniro Dairy Farmers’ Cooperative is one of the 25 dairy farmer unions that have been supported through the project.

Solar energy initiative
Heifer International Uganda connects five off-grid milk collection centers with solar power to enable them to increase their efficiency and reduce waste. The two-year pilot project has attracted an investment of €1m (nearly Shs4b) and is expected to be scaled up until 2024.


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