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Milk consumption still low, dairy sector official says

FORT PORTAL– According to Dairy Development Authority [DDA] director Finance and Administration, Collin Katungi Mutungi, milk consumption in Uganda remains very low.

Illustrating the challenge with figures, Mutungu said per capita consumption of milk in Uganda stands at an average of 63 litres per person annually which falls below 200 litres recommended by the World Health Organisation [WHO].

Mutungi said although milk production in the country has increased from 2.5 billion litres in 2018 to about 2.8bln litres in 2020, consumption is still low.

“People are not taking milk. Parents with milk should ensure their children take the milk and let us all take it,” Mutungi said on Friday during the celebrations to mark Dairy Month in Fort Portal city.

DDA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries [MAAIF] that was established under the dairy industry Act, 1998.

Its mission is to provide sustainable dairy development and regulatory services for increased production, processing, marketing, and consumption of milk.

June Dairy Month is celebrated worldwide every year to pay tribute to dairy farmers, dairy processors, traders, and their families who work hard every day to provide fresh, wholesome milk and milk products for everyone to enjoy.

DDA held this year’s June Dairy Month celebrations from Fort Portal city under the theme “increasing milk production and value addition for employment and wealth”.

During the celebrations, dairy farmers, processors, traders, and their families participated and as part of corporate social responsibility, they gave out free milk products to patients at Fort Portal regional referral, baby homes, and schools in Fort Portal.

Mutungi said the reason the celebrations were held in Fort Portal was to encourage the people of Tooro to keep good dairy cattle and encourage them to add value to the milk produced.

“80 percent of milk sold in this region [Rwenzori] is from outside and yet they have potential. Malnutrition in this region is also very high at 40.6 percent and hence need for urgent attention,” he said.

He said DDA is rehabilitating milk collection centers in the whole country to improve milk production and marketing.

He however noted that most farmers have ignored the responsibility of producing quality milk, which sometimes goes bad due to poor handling.

“Farmers have left their milk in the hands of grazers who have destroyed its quality by contaminating it. Farmers should be solely responsible for their milk right from the farm to the consumer to avoid contamination,” he said.

He encouraged farmers to improve the quality of milk and do value addition.

The Chairperson board of directors Tooro Dairy Cooperative Society, Ronald Kwikiriza said over 80 percent of the milk in the region is produced under the smallholder system characterized by inefficiencies and quality problems such as unhygienic milk handling, milk adulteration, and the presence of antibiotic residues in milk.

“The problem here is that majority of farmers do not take steps to address milk quality at the farm and in transit. Milk quality is compromised on the farm, in transit, collecting centers, and unauthorized coolers which has also resulted in cases of illegal milk trade and dumping into the region,” he said.

He called upon DDA to establish an office in Fort Portal for regular and reliable enforcement of regulatory compliance within the dairy value chain in the region.

George William Oroma the Integrated Smallholder Dairy Program [ISDAP] coordinator at Netherlands Development Organization [SNV] said they are implementing this project in the region to improve the quality of milk.

Oroma said they are sensitizing people about milk quality through interventions that lead to the quality of milk on the market.

“In this region, farmers are only producing 20 percent of the milk sold here and 80 percent is from outside. Through sensitization, they are capable of producing more milk which is of good quality and we hope to achieve it,” Oroma said.

Adding that,” there is a lot of antibiotic residues in milk which means farmers are not observing withdrawal issues hence giving people contaminated milk”.

SNV is in partnership with DDA to ensure there is quality and increased production of milk in the country.

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