Dairy farmers in Mbarara District affected by the ban on milk exports from Uganda have turned to beekeeping to create alternative income for themselves.
This is being initiated by Pearl Dairies Limited following farmer’s complaints about the fall of milk prices. The company which processes Lato Milk stopped full-scale production at the height of a milk war with Kenya at the beginning of 2020.
At the time, Kenyan authorities were confiscating imported Ugandan milk and turning away trucks on grounds that the milk had been smuggled into the country without paying taxes, thereby depressing local prices.
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic also affected production leading to farm gate prices crushing. The price per litre of Milk dropped from Shs.800 to Shs.1,200, a fall of Shs. 400 per litre.
Michael Van den Berg, the head of Dairy and Apiculture development at Pearl Dairy says the initiative is seeking to assist affected dairy farmers with an alternative source of income.
He says much as the milk sector was boosted with a diary factory, plans are underway to install a honey processing line at the factory site in Mbarara that will help in providing a quick market for the diversifying farmers.
Jackson Bells Katongole chairman of Besigana Dairy Farmer’s Cooperative society in Mbarara district says several farmers in the cooperative have abandoned farming and ventured into other businesses including beekeeping.
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