NYAGATARE - The Prime Minister, Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, has advised cattle farmers in the Eastern Province to double their efforts in promoting dairy farming, despite the current milk glut that has hit the dairy industry resulting in huge loses.
His visit comes on the backdrop of livestock farmers’ concerns over lack of an adequate market for their milk products.
Habumuremyi, accompanied by several ministers, was on a tour of Nyagatare where he inspected farming activities in the district, including Mbale and Kirebe Kamate Zirakamwa milk collection centres in Karangazi and Rwimiyaga sectors, as well as Nyagatare milk plant.
“I want to assure you that the problem is going to be solved in a very short period,” said the Premier following his meeting with livestock farmers yesterday.
“Our country is now a role model in fighting against hunger and poverty in the region because of improved farming methods in the Eastern Province. The President has sent us to come and sit down with you to discuss lasting solutions to your problems”.
He reassured the farmers that the government would soon construct milk collection centres closer to them, provide safer transportation means for milk products as well as provision of veterinary services.
Nyagatare District Mayor, Fred Atuhe Sabiiti, told the Premier that on average, milk production in the district is as high as 126,000 litres per day. However, he noted that Inyange industries, the only main milk.
The newly appointed Governor of the Eastern Province, Odette Uwamariya, noted that another market had been found in Rusizi District, Western Province, to alleviate the milk glut.
“We are assured of the market for milk in Western Province. They still can’t buy all our produce but we are also trying to negotiate with milk dealers in neighbouring Burundi,” she said.
A farmer in Karangazi Sector, John Nkurunziza, complained that it would be impractical to maintain the lives of their livestock without a market for the milk.
“Some of us have Friesian cows that require intensive care …there is no way we can maintain them if there is no ready market for milk,” he said.
Speaking to The New Times, Eugene Mukama, the coordinator of Inyange Industries, explained that they reduced their milk purchase from the area due to quality issues.
“We are discussing with Savannah milk plant how we can buy shares and install modern equipment to provide quality milk,” he said.