KIRUHURA – Dairy farmers in Kiruhura district are counting loses as milk prices continue to decline.
The farmers claim milk prices have in the last two months dropped from Shs 1200 a liter to now between Shs 400-500 as farmers continue to make losses.
Farmers say the cost of production remains high and the trend is rendering the dairy business unreliable sector to depend on for survival.
In an interview with Scovia Nankunda, Kiruhura district commercial officer said they mainly depend on milk for survival and that they have for a long time tried to invest heavily on extension of service delivery to farmers to increase production but added this has been frustrated by ever-declining milk prices.
“To produce a liter of milk you put in like Shs 1500, and then you sell it at Shs 400 or 500, this is frustrating. Farmers incur a lot of costs in treating diseases, establishing water points because this is a dry corridor and with these prices, dairy farming is becoming a risky sector to depend on,” said Ms Nankunda.
She said as the government looks up to boast and improve the sector through provision of inputs and extension services, without a sustainable market strategy, its efforts will be put to waste.
Micheal Buryo, the chairperson Kyakabunga dairy farm cooperative society said milk factory owners and processors don’t want to go into agreement with farmers on fixing prices, they want to continue exploiting them. Adding that it becomes worse during the rainy season when they give rather very low prices.
Rtd. Col. Dick Bugingo, the director AGADI Dairy farm who is among the leading producers of milk says the biggest challenge is the missing link in the dairy sector and the pricing of milk, adding if milk pricing remains at this trend farmers are bound to leave the sector.
Steven Kashaka described the relationship between farmers and factory owners/processors as fraud.
“Right now am not making any money in this sector, am only in farming that a miracle may come. If you see what these factory owners and processors are giving us and how they are selling in the market, this is completely fraud. I don’t know what our leaders are doing,” said Kashaka.
The farmers appealed government to help them have a strong dairy cooperative movement to stop this exploitation by traders.