BUSINESS

Lato Milk to help farmers bolster household incomes

Dairy production across Uganda is dominated by small-scale farmers living in impoverished rural areas, and it is estimated that only 20 percent of the country’s milk output is processed. Strategic support for the sector will help to improve milk quality and reduce seasonal variability in milk production.

Dairy production across Uganda is dominated by small-scale farmers living in impoverished rural areas, and it is estimated that only 20 percent of the country’s milk output is processed. Strategic support for the sector will help to improve milk quality and reduce seasonal variability in milk production.

KAMPALA, UGANDA – Lato Milk, a product of Pearl Dairy Limited has unveiled a new development dubbed “Project Prosperity” that seeks to help dairy farmers increase their earnings.

Launching the initiative, Mr. Amit Sagar, the CEO of Pearl Daily Farms said it aims to increase the milk yield per cow for farmers to earn more and improve their families’ prosperity.

“We want to work with farmers to reduce the cost of production but also double our capacity in the next year cater to this growing demand,” Mr. Sagar said.

The dairy sector is currently growing at an average of 7% per annum, with some areas in South Western Uganda averaging 10 – 15% per year but a lack of resources and expensive financial interest rates hinder further growth.

The Mbarara-based Pearl Dairy Farms which produces Lato milk has been working closely with the farmers for years and in the process gaining vast knowledge of the dynamics of the sector in the country. The average milk production of cattle in Uganda is about 5-6 liters per day but Akash Kumar – Co-founder- of Pearl Daily Farms says cows in more advanced nations like New Zealand and the Netherlands can produce 20 liters.

Under this arrangement, Mr. Akash Kumar said the ultimate goal of the project is to make farmers prosper and increase their household incomes. “Wealth brings prosperity to their households and that is why we call it “Project Prosperity.”

“We are working on a technology-based application that will tell us which farmer needs what kind of investment. So currently, we have a team of about 50 daily extension offices which goes from farmer to farmer and this will help us to see how to help them,” the Pearl Dairy Farms boss said.

He added: “The annual income for the farmer has to at least triple in the next two years to 10 years. Step by step, if you ask me 10 or 15 years ago, you see that this war in Russia and Ukraine has taught us that the world has to have food security. We should not depend on one region. Africa is a continent with so many resources, including national resources. Africa should not be feeding Africa only; Africa should be able to feed the world.”

The project team has already collected data for 1,000 dairy farmers in Uganda and is delivering a pilot program to finalize the learnings about basic challenges and hidden opportunities before launching the digital application.

The project has been endorsed by leading international companies and institutions globally like IFC, PSFU, SNV, universities such as the University of Southern California, and government bodies like the Dairy Development Authority of Uganda.

The aim of Project Prosperity is to mitigate gaps and enhance profitability for smallholder farmers, starting with the dairy industry.

In 2018, Ugandan milk exports totaled $131 million, and 74 percent of that ($96 million) was exported to Kenya, according to data from United Nations Comtrade.

Processed milk accounts for more than 35 percent of Uganda’s marketed milk, according to DDA.

Uganda’s milk production increased to 2.7 billion litres in 2019 from 2.08 billion litres in 2015 as its export earnings tripled to $135.9 million.

President Museveni said Algeria will buy milk worth $500 million from Uganda, making it its largest export market.

Uganda has faced trade disputes with neighbors Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania over sugar, eggs and milk and tariffs, including a border closure, with Rwanda, that lasted until last year in January.

 

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