Affected farmers usually use jerry cans, buckets among other plastic containers, saying they find it hard to effectively clean the containers which also attract much heat during sunny days, spoiling the milk which is rejected by milk collection centers.
Farmers have thus appealed for support to get standard milk cans to maintain quality of milk.
“We have quite a number of cows in Gishwati farms. We have higher milk production but we face difficulties with supplying milk. We use jerry cans of which hygiene is uneasy to maintain. Indeed, milk supplied in jerry cans is susceptible to perishing when it is exposed to the Sun. This leads to the rejection of our milk at the collection centers,” said Enock Ngiruwonsanga.
The representative of Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF) at Nyiragikokora Milk Collection Center, Jean Pierre Manirabaruta said they sometimes reject over 20 liters of substandard milk a day.
“We often experience such issues of substandard milk because some farmers still use plastic containers like jerry cans and buckets among others. At times we realize the milk is spoiled on arrival. It is difficult to articulately clean such plastic containers,” he said.
Manirabaruta however explained that the challenge is being addressed under the new plan to distribute standard milk containers to farmers.
The representative of Rwanda Dairy Development Project (RDDP) in Nyabihu district, Alexandre Mbyayingabo said the process of distributing milk cans to farmers is underway.
“The Ministry of Agriculture through RDDP operating in 12 districts countrywide, started addressing the issue with the distribution of milk cans, cooling tanks and equipment to test milk standards among others. The initiative launched is in line with improving quantity and quality of milk and accelerate farmers’ progress,” he said.
MINAGRI through RDDP plans to distribute 20,000 dairy equipment including coolers, milk cans and milk testers, among others.
Farmers in Gishwati will receive 3,465 including 4 coolers in a bid to eliminate losses emanating from supplying milk in sub-standard containers.