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Kiruhura dairy farmers petition agriculture minister over milk prices

Kiruhura, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kiruhura district farmers have petitioned the Minister of Agriculture for immediate intervention over the milk prices.

In the letter addressed to Minister Frank Tumwebaze, the farmers in Kiruhura say the reduction of milk prices from 1,600 to 800 shillings in 7 days has left them worried amidst skyrocketing prices of all other basic needs.

Their chairperson Emmanuel Kishe says that milk prices in the supermarkets and groceries range from 3,000-3500 shillings while the processing costs range from 800-1,200 shillings depending on the product.

He says the current price of all farm input commodities, resistant tick diseases, and the negative seasonal change of severe dry season have hiked-up milk production costs to between 950 and 1,700 per liter and yet farm gate price for milk has remained as low as between 850 and 700 Shillings.

According to Kishe, all the water points have dried up, forcing them to start fetching water for their cows from water wells that are located more than 10 kilometers away from their homes.

Deus Mugume, a farmer in Kikatsi sub county says farmers have suffered the worst of their business in the last two years noting that the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown, the Foot and Mouth Disease quarantine, and the recent armyworm outbreak which have been eating anything green leaving cattle without grass.

Mugume says the government should help farmers to have their income revamped but milk prices are cut below production cost.

Kishe further says the government’s emphasis on the demand for commercial farming will never be achieved in situations where prices of farm products are offered by buyers without considering the cost of production.

Minister Frank Tumwebaze when contacted confirmed receiving the petition noting that he was yet to respond to the farmers.

This is not the first time milk prices have gone down. In 2021 when Kenya slapped a ban on Uganda’s milk, the prices went to as low as 500 a liter, however, the farmers say the processors have this time reduced the prices without justification.



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