Dairy farmers push for Rwf300 a litre in tariff review

Tuesday November 16 2021
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A diary farmer in Eastern Province. Dairy farmers in Rwanda are not getting true value for their milk due to high production costs and low quality. PHOTO | FILE


The government will raise farm gate price for milk following calls by livestock farmers, who complained of exploitation leading to milk shortage.

Farmers say the Rwf200 per litre tariff set by Ministry of Trade and Industry in 2018 remained unchanged despite rising prices of feed and other inputs.

“We have experts from trade and agriculture dockets who are doing detailed assessment of costs livestock farmers incur in terms of feeds, veterinary services, and water, among other things, as well as how they changed over time. The exercise was interrupted Covid-19, but we shall reach the dry season next year with a tariff,” domestic trade director at Ministry of Trade and Industry Cassien Karangwa, told Rwanda Today.

“We have consulted individual livestock farmers and their cooperatives to determine exactly how much it cost to produce 1 litre of milk.”

The Rwanda National Dairy Platform indicates that concerns over non-remunerative prices remained a problem for years, but became more pronounced this year when the prolonged dry season prompted a nationwide milk shortage crisis.

“Milk scarcity challenges that had adverse effects on our milk production volumes and reduced its availability in the market.” said Dairy processors.


Farmers say the existing farm gate tariff was reasonable for the rain season, climate change has seen drought last for time beyond the usual two months, leaving farmers struggling.

“In our view Rwf300 per litre is the average farm gate price that can help a farmer make investments that are needed to ensure maximum milk output for all times. The reason for this shortage is that farmers have profit to invest into buying concentrates,” argued Stanislas Nkumbuye, farmers’ representative at the National Dairy Platform.

“Besides the price should be adjusted whenever farmers and evaluators find the cost of production to have gone beyond margins offered by the market. We need that assessment at least every six months. In case that can’t work, it will necessitate that government input costs subsidy whenever they reach a certain threshold.” 

There was no data to indicate the extent of the milk shortage based on the demand on the market and supplied volumes.

However, individual farmers indicated that production dipped by between 40 and 60 per cent and this hit most arid Eastern Province Districts which are the country’s major dairy hub.