A ministerial order issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) regulating collection, transport and selling of milk is expected to bring solutions to challenges that have been facing the dairy business.
The ministerial order provides for milk to be collected at a milk collection centre (MCC), where it shall be tested for quality before sale or consumption.
Speaking at a meeting with milk stakeholders to raise awareness on the provisions of the order, on Wednesday, Dr Théogène Rutagwenda, the director general for animal resources in MINAGRI, said regulating milk value chain would cut losses caused by fraud in milk business.
He said, “Having collection, transportation and selling of milk regulated will ensure that milk consumers get good quality milk, that’s tested before commercialisation to ensure safety of consumers.”
He added that this will reduce losses that result from selling poor quality milk.
‘‘It will also protect customers from consuming substandard milk that can cause harmful effects to their lives instead of benefiting them,’’ he said.
According to the ministerial order, any person who transports milk must use well closed stainless steel cans or an appropriate vehicle with a cooling tank that keeps the milk at a temperature that does not exceed four degrees Celsius (40oC).
Beatrice Uwumukiza, the director general for agriculture and livestock inspection at the Ministry of Agriculture, said regulating milk value chain would promote structured business within the dairy sector; which she said could boost profitability of the sector and market good quality of Rwanda’s milk.
The ministerial order also states that no person shall sell milk unless the milk is tested at its reception.
According to the order, milk for sale or consumption must have a density of between 1.026 and 1. o32 at 20oC, have a measure of acidity or alkalinity between 6.60 and 6.80 (PH :6.60-6.80), have, where test is possible, fat content of at least 3.25 per cent, have, where test is possible, other solids non-fat of at least8.5 per cent whereas fermented milk and ghee solid in kiosks must comply with the standards established by Rwanda Standards Board (RSB).
Emmanuel Ndoli, in charge of procurement in Inyange Industries, cited lack of roads and access to electricity for milk collection centres among the main challenges facing dairy business.
He said, “Many milk collection centres do not have access to electricity neither do they have generators to help operate those utensils used to test milk. Besides, most of them are not easily accessible, which is still a threat to milk transportation, especially from collection centres to processing plants. This eventually leads to the milk getting spoilt. To ensure profitable dairy business and compliance with this order, such issues should be fixed.”
Christine Mukeshimana, a member of Rwanda National Dairy Platform (RNDP) who sells milk in Muhanga, and Penelope Muragijimana, a milk dealer in Kigali, said the ministerial order would help them boost their profitability once a follow--up is made on those who will not comply with its provisions.
The ministerial order, gazetted in February, will come into force next month after a transitional period of six months was given to people in dairy business.