Shopkeepers decry milk shortage
PRICE HIKE:A litre of Inyange milk now at Rwf1,200
Supermarkets and shops around the country have been hit by a shortage of pasteurized milk from Inyange Industries, forcing them to hike prices.
Inyange Industries is the country’s largest food processing company, manufacturing a variety of products including pasteurized milk, juices and yoghurt, among others.
According to supermarket operators The New Times talked to, they have not been getting Inyange milk for over two months now.
“We have not had Inyange for the last two months and it has really affected us because many of our clients keep asking for the product,” said an attendant at Ndoli’s Joint Supermarket at Kisimenti, Remera.
Jeanette Uwera, an attendant in Carrefour Supermarket in Remera, said that even when they manage to get the milk, they are forced to pay Rwf 10,000, when previously they paid Rwf 7,000.
“We got some from our suppliers but it was so expensive that customers cannot afford it,” Uwera complained.
A mini survey conducted by The New Times shows that presently a litre costs as much as Rwf 1200, up from the retail price of Rwf 800.
When contacted, the Managing Director of Inyange Industries, Rama Kant Pander, attributed the shortage to the prevailing dry season. He said farmers aren’t able to supply enough milk.
He added that the company currently purchases only 10,000 litres of milk daily, compared to the 25,000 litres they used to purchase from local dairy farmers before the dry spell.
However, his assertions were challenged by the Manager of the Nyagatare Dairy Farmers’ Union, Fred Muhire, saying farmers were refusing to sell their products to Inyange because it offers low prices.
“The problem is not the dry season. Inyange pays only Rwf130 per litre yet the farmers can get higher prices elsewhere,” Muhire said.
He also said that the company didn’t pay them in a timely manner.
Eastern Province dairy farmers say they get Rwf 200 per litre. In Kigali, fresh milk is sold at an average of Rrw300 a litre in various dairies.
Speaking to The New Times, the Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Ernest Ruzindaza, insisted there wasn’t a milk shortage in the country.
“There is enough milk to meet the demand, it’s simply that farmers like dealing directly with customers who pay better prices,” said Ruzindaza.
Pandey revealed that Inyange plans to start purchasing over 35,000 litres of milk from farmers a day while increasing the amount of money they pay to farmers. He however declined to state when this would come into effect.
Contact email: fred.ndoli[at]newtimes.co.rw