Rubavu farmers allege milk coolers substandard

Milk dealers in Rubavu district have petitioned the Prime Minister seeking his intervention to solve long standing problems regarding milk coolers provided by Rwanda Development Bank (BRD). In an effort to boost milk production in the country, BRD, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, distributed milk coolers but dealers in the district claim they are substandard and faulty.

Milk dealers in Rubavu district have petitioned the Prime Minister seeking his intervention to solve long standing problems regarding milk coolers provided by Rwanda Development Bank (BRD).

In an effort to boost milk production in the country, BRD, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, distributed milk coolers but dealers in the district claim they are substandard and faulty.

The Premier, Pierre Damien Habumuremye, received the petition during his recent visit to the area.

He instructed the Western Province and the district authorities to solve the issue with immediate effect.

 “Since August last year when we were given the coolers, we have not used them because they are old and of poor quality, rendering them substandard,” said Straton Kamanzi, of CODERU milk cooperative.

“We have requested Rwanda Bureau of Standards to examine the state of the coolers before we can use them,” added Kamanzi.

BRD has so far distributed 21 milk coolers throughout the country and plans to set establish up to 70 facilities. Seven are up but Rubavu farmers have refused to use the machines.

Paul Jabo, the Executive Secretary of the province, explained in a meeting with stakeholders that the coolers are rusty and buildings where the coolers are installed lack minimum sanitary standards.

The government injected Rwf 33 million into this project while BRD gave a loan of up to Rwf 35 million for rolling out milk collection centres in the country.

However, Philbert Mbanza, BRD’s head of special projects and technical assistance, dismissed the complaints.

“The claims that the coolers are substandard are not true because the same machines have been used by other people in other parts of the country; we should be working with every one to solve the issue,” he told The New Times.

alex.ngarambe@newtimes.co.rw

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