Gicumbi dairy farmers decry lack of adequate market

On 11 February 2021 at 09:22

Dairy farmers selling milk or involved in the production of ghee in Gicumbi district, Northern Province have appealed to relevant authorities for support to address market shortage that saw them disposing off or feeding milk to pigs.

The farmers explain that the issue has been persistent and worsened during Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to IGIHE, some dairy farmers have appealed for support to get enough markets where they can supply dairy products noting to avoid losses of 10,000 liters of milk wasted every day.

Uzabakiriho Gervais, the president of I.A.KI.B (a cooperative which collects and buys large milk produce in Gicumbi district) has said that big quantities of milk are wasted because they don’t have enough markets.

“The cooperative receives 40,000 liters per day. Inyange Industries would buy 20,000 liters only because it has other suppliers from Umutara. The remaining produce would get spoiled and wasted. This is the situation we have been going through in January 2021,” he said.

“We are currently supplying to early childhood development centers but much of the milk is disposed of because we don’t supply every day,” added Uzabakiriho.

Harerimana Jean de Dieu, a dairy farmer and ghee maker has revealed that these days they only benefit from getting organic compost because of failure to find markets for the milk.

“We can only obtain compost from cattle farming because farmers feed milk to their pigs while others without pigs dispose of the produce. We are used to sharing milk with neighbors but they sometimes refuse claiming that they have not yet finished previously received liters,” he said.

“I spend at least Rwf 13,000 on cattle rearing every day. We are facing losses because we supply milk in the morning only. Sometimes, milk collection centers keep the produce in containers for a week and later disposed of claiming that milk spoiled,” added Harerimana.

The mayor of Gicumbi district, Félix Ndayambaje has said that farmers have got market to supply milk to early childhood development centers but more interventions will be sought overtime.

“It has been observed that 28629 liters of milk go to waste due to lack of market. However, the milk is currently being supplied to over 1000 early childhood development centers as part of home grown solutions to fight against stunting, malnutrition among children. We will continue to seek a durable solution to supply to schools or elsewhere,” he explained.

The Director General of Livestock at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), Dr. Theogene Rutagwenda has said that they are seeking for a short-term solution as they await milk processing plant expected to be established in the area.

“A small portion of milk produce from Gicumbi is supplied to Kigali, Inyange and a person called Miltoni producing dairy products at the border. It is obvious that much of the milk has no market but discussions are underway for the establishment of a milk processing plant. The Governor also proposed the supply of milk to early childhood development centers which is not a durable solution but it is helpful,” he said.