Dairy farmers in Kijunjubwa Sub-county, Masindi District have decried the falling price of milk resulting from the heavy rains experienced in the country, making most roads impassable for them to access better markets for their product.
The herders say a litre of milk is currently at Shs500 down from Shs900, thus, affecting their income.
Mr Koleb Mugabo, a dairy farmer at Nyakatete village says the heavy rains have destroyed the roads in the area prompting traders to reduce the price of milk.
He says the matter has been exacerbated by lack of coolers in the area, making it hard for them to store their milk while waiting for buyers offering a better price.
Mr Mugabo urges the government to provide them with milk coolers and also work on the roads to check the problem.
“The whole problem of the fall in the price of milk has come from poor roads. In some areas, the price is as low as Shs500 against Shs900 as at June this year. We don’t have any dairy here in Rwamukabara and Nyakatete in addition to working on the roads.”
Mr Edward Mwebaze, also a cattle farmer in Rwamukabara village says the low price has greatly affected the income of people who depend on milk.
“When the price of milk falls, we cattle keepers suffer a lot since it is the only source of income we rely on. Whereas prices of other commodities increase, the price of milk remains constant.”
However, the Masindi District Commercial Officer, Mr Moses Kalyegira, blames the fall in the price of milk on farmers’ failure to collectively market their product.
The commercial officer notes that although milk production has increased during this rainy season, its supply is low on the market forcing middle men to take advantage of the situation to cheat the farmers.
He reveals that a litter of milk goes at Shs1, 000 in Masindi town advising cattle farmers to use milk coolers government donated to them through the Dairy Development Authority for collective marketing to avoid being cheated by middle men.
“There is a better price for milk. But the problem is with cattle farmers who are selling their milk to anybody who approaches them. We know some people who ride to the cattle keepers and buy milk at Shs500 but selling it at Shs1, 000. Therefore, cattle keepers have to form cooperative societies. Through the Dairy Development Authority and NAADS, the district donated milk coolers to dairy farmers in Kijunjubwa, Kakuuku and Ntooma with the aim of encouraging the herders to form cooperative societies and sell their milk collectively”, he says.
Adding: “If someone comes with a 5, 000 litre-milk tank, he will know where to find the milk. But if cattle keepers continue selling milk to people buying in jerry cans, you will be cheated since the buyer will be dictating on the price because he knows where he is taking it.”