Dairy farmers count losses as Covid-19 grounds movement

Saturday May 02 2020

Dairy farmers are counting losses as they struggle to find a market for their produce as the majority of milk processing activities and milk shops remain closed due to the lockdown. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA


As dairy farmers struggle to find a market for their products at a time processing facilities and shops are closed, some farmers are reportedly selling their cows cheaply to stem possible losses.

“I have decided to sell one of my two cows because there was nowhere to sell milk produced yet the cost of looking after them become challenging under the lockdown,” said Protais Sebahutu, a dairy farmer who estimates a total loss of Rwf60, 000 on the milk business on a monthly basis.

Already, milk prices have dropped to Rwf 100 from approximately Rwf200 farm gate price “We live in on a dairy business because with few litters from my neighbors, I have been supplying the milk collection center with over 100 litters daily, but now life is becoming more challenging,” he added.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, annual milk production in the country increased to around one billion liters last year.

Rwanda’s Dairy Federation said that a huge volumes of milk production is currently going to waste. Gahiga Gashumba, chairman of Rwanda National Dairy Federation said with hotels and small and medium milk processing factories, the largest consumers of milk, suspended operations the losses to the farmers has been worsened.

“Milk business has been generally badly hit because of largest consumers of our products like hotels, small and medium processing factories have suspended their operations while Inyanye industry reduced theirs,” said Mr Gashumba. “For instance, many of the small and medium milk processing factories in southern province have been relying on the travellers within Kigali-Huye-Rusizi route, and those customers are no longer available,” he added.