NYAGATARE– Farmers in Nyagatare District have expressed concern over lack of adequate market for their milk.
According to the Mayor, Fred Atuhe, on average, milk production is as high as 130,000 litres per day. However, Inyange industries, the only main milk factory near the area, receives a meagre 10,000 litres, leaving the remaining thousands of litres as surplus.
Yet, milk production is expected to increase further after the introduction of hybrid cows.
“The excessive production is from traditional long horned cows... but with the arrival of high yield Friesian cows, we expect more milk,” he said.
“We recently got another market in the Western Province, but they still won’t buy all our produce. Additional markets would create smiles on farmers’ faces.”
Alfred Mugisha, a farmer in Karangazi Sector, reiterated the urgent need for a market and that their lives cannot improve as expected due to an unreliable milk market.
“Some of us have left it for calves to feed on ...there is practically no market. Milk supply highly exceeds the existing demand, hence rendering the whole business futile,” said Mugisha.
Jean Marie Makombe, the Executive Secretary of Eastern Province, said that modalities were being drawn to address the problem.
He added that milk preservation systems and transportation were to be provided to assist farmers.
“It is not only milk, but other by-products as well. We need to help farmers with modern equipment to make cheese and butter. We shall also increase cold rooms and vehicles with cooling systems to cater for the huge milk production in the province,” he said.
The Director General Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) Prof. Shem Martin Ndabikunze, noted that he was aware of the crisis saying that they are currently in discussions with stakeholders to seek a solution to the problem.
“We are aware of that problem and we are currently discussing with all stakeholders for an immediate solution,” he said.
When contacted, Prof. Manasseh Nshuti, the chairman of Crystal Ventures that owns Inyange Industries, said the firm has been facing high production costs. He, however, noted that they intend to acquire more processing machines to process more milk at a cheaper cost.
“We have a problem of high production costs but our machines will be arriving next month and I am optimistic that once they are here, all these problems will be solved,” he said.
He added that Crystal Ventures is in the process of acquiring the Nyagatare-based Savannah Dairy plant, which he said would enable Inyange to buy more milk from area farmers.
Savannah is currently operated by the Ministry of Agriculture.