Farmers rediscover value of milk plants

Residents of Mbare Village in Karangazi Sector, Nyagatare District, have embarked on efforts to make Milk Collection Centres (MCCs) profitable for poor farmers, mainly through operating in cooperatives.

Residents of Mbare Village in Karangazi Sector, Nyagatare District, have embarked on efforts to make Milk Collection Centres (MCCs) profitable for poor farmers, mainly through operating in cooperatives. 

More than 200 farmers have joined the cooperative that manages the MCC, earning steady income in the process.

Johnson Gahungu, an MCC manager, said almost 90 per cent of the cooperative’s members are small-scale diary farmers.

 “The centre has changed people’s lives. There is no more wastage of milk in our village as was the case a few years back. Farmers have actually been motivated to go for higher diary cows so that they can sell more milk,” he said.

Nyagatare’s rural population depends almost entirely on livestock farming for a living.

“We are going a mile further to start production of animal feeds. Modern farming goes with a number of demands. Reliance on traditional free grazing doesn’t work anymore,” Gahungu said.

Ntare Murenzi, a small-scale farmer and a member of the cooperative, said every day, he sets out early to take his milk to the MCC.

He said he is now able to send his four children to school, pay medical fees and cater for his family, thanks to the centre.

“At the centre, the milk is tested to make sure it meets the required standards and specifications. I then wait for my pay at the end of the month,” he said.

Mayor Fred Sabiti Atuhe said members are saving to set up a feed processing plant.

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