RWAMAGANA—It is a few years since President Paul Kagame, initiated the programme of One-Cow-One-Family, but its implementation has led to abundant milk production in many upcountry areas; which qualifies districts like Rwamagana to be called the land of milk.
Milk is one of the cheapest and affordable drinks in Rwamagana. Whereas it remains out of reach for many urban dwellers due to its cost, in Rwamagana a litre of it goes for Frw200.
Thanks to the president who introduced programme. Before the introduction of One-Cow-One-Family, Rwamagana was among the districts few herds of cattle and not enough milk. Today however, livestock farmers in the area are complaining of a surplus in milk production.
"We need market for our milk. My Friesian cow produces 25 litres a day but all the milk is left at home for consumption," said Patrick Byabagamba, a resident of Nsinda.
Byabagamba, also the vice president of Dukundamatungo, an umbrella association of livestock farmers in Rwamagana, blames lack of market for their milk on poor organisation among livestock farmers.
"We lack proper organisation in order to secure market for our milk," he said, appealing to local leaders to sensitise livestock farmers to form committees which would oversee the selling of milk.
In a detailed interview, Byagamba also blamed low milk consumption in the area on poor feeding habits. He said many residents prefer to drinking alcohol rather than milk yet the latter is cheaper and nutritious.
He pointed out that half a litre of local brew (Urwarwa) cost Frw200, the same amount that can buy a full litre of milk. He called on fellow residents to desist from high alcohol consumption in favour of milk.
He also appealed to district authorities to equip and avail veterinary officers to monitor the health of their cows, saying it would be dangerous if organizations like Send a Cow, and Heifer International, currently offering the services, pulled out.
However, the district Mayor, Valens Ntezirembo, says the farmers will no longer count losses once the milk collection centre, which is currently under construction in Kigabiro sector is complete.
There will be no more milk flooding in the district. The centre will be equipped with refrigerators to preserve milk and potential buyers will be sure of finding safe milk at the collection centre, he said.