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Kabale dairy co-operators advised to embrace improved breeds, strengthen primary societies

Rwampara District Commercial Officer (DCO), Amon Mutabarura, has called on co-operators in the dairy sector to invest in improved breeds of cattle that guarantee higher quantities of milk if they are to prosper.

Mutabarura, himself a renowned dairy farmer, made the remarks last Tuesday during a 2-day training for Kabale Dairy Cooperative conducted by the Uhuru Institute of Social Development’s Coop360°Network at Palm Valley Gardens in Kabale town.

Citing personal experience, he testified:

“People who, in the past, kept almost 120 heads of local cattle now have a few Friesian breeds that provide them with much more milk every day. For instance, ours give us 800 litres daily, up from the 20 litres we used to get; do you think our mother can die poor with so much milk?”

He insisted that the co-operators would rather leave dairy farming for other businesses instead of rearing unproductive breeds of cattle.

“We are looking after cows for business, not as a hobby, and dairy business survives on making profits. If you are in a business that does not make profits, it’s better that you leave it,” he said. 

Mutabarura also encouraged the dairy farmers to save faithfully in order to sustain their cooperative.

Erasmus Natumanya, Kabale District Commercial Officer (DCO) decried the growing practice by contenders for leadership in cooperatives to bribe their way into power.

“We don’t hate competition; In fact, we welcome applications from all those interested in standing, but let’s have healthy, constructive competition, not destructive competition,” said Natumanya.

Strengthen Primary societies

On his part Leonard Okello, Executive Director Uhuru Institute for Social Development cautioned co-operators not to rush into forming unions, saying that these create more hierarchies and unnecessarily hike administration costs.

Rather, he urged them to focus on strengthening the primary societies.

“Look at Wazalendo, which is the biggest cooperative in Uganda; or Lyamujungu SACCO, with 20,000 members: both are primary societies. What is important is for the members, leaders, and the managers to be clear on what they want, invest and plan right, avoid losses, save more, and grow your cooperative into a giant,” Okello explained.

“Don’t rush into forming a union just because you must form a union. Form one only if you are clear that at this point the union will add value in terms of market access, advocacy, and capacity building for the primary societies,” he advised.

Fred Ntuhe, Chairperson Kigezi Dairy Cooperative Society Ltd, was thankful for the refresher training from The Uhuru Institute for Social Development, which he said has ignited the cooperative’s desire to start processing milk as part of value addition and reactivate their farm supply shop.

“We might get a dairy processing machine quickly for processing yogurt and pasteurized milk. We are also planning to revise our farm supply shop during our next general meeting to be held on 6th April 2021,” Ntuhe said.

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