Wednesday January 29 2014

Bushenyi dairy farmers look to schools for new markets

A dairy farmer pours milk in a can to take to the market. With proper organisation and mobilisation, schools can become a good market for milk and other milk products.

A dairy farmer pours milk in a can to take to the market. file photo 

By Otushabire Tibyangye

Most commercial milk producers have a view of marketing their product in external markets and pay less attention to the markets near home.

In milk-producing areas like Greater Bushenyi, this is likely to change as Uganda Crane Creameries Cooperative Union (UCCCU), which brings together dairy farmers in the Ankole and Kigezi regions, is running a project to enhance farmer integration in the dairy value chain.

To create an internal market before looking for an external one, UCCCU has established a school milk feeding programme, where it has patterned with primary, secondary and tertiary institutions on cost-sharing basis. Clayton Arinanye, the project manager, says the main objective is to link dairy farmers to the new markets. It is also to provide pupils and students with fresh milk, which is nutritious and good for their health and growth.

The programme supports the farmers to increase their market base through their primary cooperative societies. This enhances the farmers’ incomes therefore improving livelihoods. It comes at a time when the cooperative union is about to complete their own processing plant in south western Uganda, which will guarantee supply of products like pasteurised and ultra-heat treated (UHT) milk and yoghurt to the schools.

The school milk project, which started in September 2013 as third term begun, has had a positive reception. There has been high demand for it to be extended to other schools. Currently, it supports only 33 schools which share the cost with UCCCU in buying raw milk from 19 dairy cooperative societies. The participating schools buy milk from the cooperative societies located within their reach.

Arinanye reveals that the participating schools are consuming 3,741 litres per day, but hopes the number of schools will rise as time goes on. He expects that this increase in consumption especially when there is processed milk from the factory starts operations. “We are promoting the consumption of raw milk in schools in preparation of processed milk once we open our factory. This will go a long way in creating a local market for the processed milk instead of focusing only on the external market,” he says.

To interest the school-going children into the dairy sector, the project intends to integrate dairy activities in schools like promoting agricultural clubs, practical lessons in value addition, and facilitating study tours to successful farmers.

These activities, it is hoped, will help bring the youth on board. However, Steven Ayinganiza, the director Dairy Development Authority, points outs that the government will ban the sale of raw milk and warns farmers against compromising the quality of milk. “Ensure milk quality is not compromised by holding milk handlers and the equipment used to high standards of hygiene,” he says.

Future plans
George Nuwagira, UCCCU chairman, observes that the milk programme is set to increase cooperatives’ membership, boost marketing of milk through farmers’ cooperatives, integrate dairy activities in schools, and promote consumption in milk-deficit areas.

“The project has already been adopted in the central part of the country and is slated to change the concept of looking at external markets. This is our marketing strategy,” he says. He adds that more people should adapt dairy farming because it guarantees the farmer a daily income. “This is the only agricultural activity where a farmer earns money in the morning and evening through the sale of milk,” Nuwagira says.

Milking is done twice in a day; morning and evening. “So, the biggest secret in dairy farming is to identify the best dairy animals which can give a lot of quality milk,” he states. Tapping market segments in the communities, such as schools, leads to improved livelihoods and participation of dairy farmers in the value chain.


Some of the achievements of the school milk programme include training of youth and women to set up dairy micro-enterprises. Women have been trained about their roles in child nutrition and the food security. This is to encourage them to get involved in dairy practices in their households. Pupils in participating schools have become healthier while quality of milk continues to improve since the farmers realise that the milk is consumed by children, including their very own.

Average prices of selected commodities

Commodity Wholesale Retail
Agwedde Beans 1,120 1,310
Apple Bananas 1,790 2,210
Beef 6,810 8,000
Cassava Flour 640 850
Cavendish (Bogoya) 3,000 3,690
Coffee (Arabica) 590 N/A
Coffee (Robusta) 470 400
Cow Peas 2,750 3,160
Dry Fermented Cassava 320 410
Exotic Chicken 9,130 11,000
Exotic Eggs 7,910 8,750
Fresh Cassava 1,010 1,670
Goat Meat 7,750 8,940
Groundnuts 3,550 4,100
Irish Potatoes 950 1,270
Kayiso Rice 2,310 2,600
Local Chicken 13,480 18,130
Local Eggs 10,690 13,130
Maize Flour 1,500 1,830
Maize Grain 660 820
Matooke 18,500 22,630
Matooke (kg) 880 1,150
Milk 1,070 1,260
Millet Flour 2,060 2,430
Millet Grain 1,460 1,720
Nambale Beans 1,630 1,930
Nile Perch 7,440 8,940
Orange S. Potatoes 540 780
Pineapple 1,380 2,030
Pork 2,940 3,630
Processed Honey 2,880 3,750
Simsim 4,010 4,630
Sorghum Flour 1,040 1,280
Sorghum Grain 940 1,130
Soya Beans 1,410 1,780
Sun Dried Cassava 390 470
Sunflower 210 220
Super Rice 2,860 3,200
Tilapia 8,690 9,940
Turkey 14,630 17,000
Unprocessed Cotton 110 140
Unprocessed Honey 2,090 2,590
Unprocessed Tea 420 520
Unprocessed Vanilla 880 1,130
Upland Rice 2,360 2,740
White S. Potatoes 1,020 1,610
Yellow Beans 1,670 2,010