Cow farmers across the country are now smiling for dairy production which was doubled with an improved quality after a long time counting losses caused by Mastitis, an inflammation of the breast or udder usually associated with lactating cows.
The farmers were taught on best cattle farming practices including proper hygiene from cowsheds, milking and transportation of milk to the Milk Collection Centers, − thanks to the efforts by the Rwanda Dairy Development Project (RDDP) which is run by IFAD and the Government of Rwanda through Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF).
Emmanuel Twizerimana is a cattle farmer from Arusha cell, Bigogwe Sector in Nyabihu District. He commends the efforts of the project to help farmers in his location to turn the grade TWO milk into grade TWO
“Before the project’s interventions, we had only cattle variety whose dairy produce was low, they encouraged us to grow productive cattle varieties. They treated mastitis which was a huge concern and most of farmers got an increase in milk quality from 50 liters per day to 100 liters. We shifted from Grade 2 of milk to Grade 1.” Twizeyimana said.
The project has been implemented in different Milk Collection Centers (MCCs) countrywide whereby RYAF has since 2018 provided a qualified vet – associate manager at each center, and by the sponsorship of RDDP and the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI), cooperatives at MCCs would be facilitated to get appropriate equipment for milk value chain, infrastructures where needed and advice-giving trainings dedicated to households for the sake of qualitative dairy farming.
Different households have benefited from the Rwanda Dairy Development Project (RDDP), according testimonies from cattle farmers.
Rose Umulisa, a cattle farmer and milk supplier in Kinazi sector, Ruhango district said: “RYAF has guided us by trainings on best ways of farming, through proper cattle feeding, construction of appropriate cowsheds and cleanliness in the milking area.”
She, furtherly, claimed for more sensitization so that all farmers could be reached
Simeon Habimana, another cattle farmer heading DUFACO Gishari cooperative in Rwamagana district said: “This cooperative had faced difficulties before RYAF sent us a technician who helped us increase milk production from collecting just thirty liters of milk to at least 400 liters per day.”
Aimable Ndayisaba, coordinator at Kinazi Dairy Cooperative (KIDACO) highlighted the progress brought by RDDP through RYAF.
“RYAF has helped us a lot in breaking up disorder which had been persistent at our Milk Collection Center (MCC), whereby other internal workers have been trained on technical service to daily suppliers” He hinted
Vincent Ngirinshuti a cattle farmer and milk supplier at Rusatira MCC in Huye district said: “We are now paid regularly than before the project came in. RYAF helped us get milk tanks on good prices and cow medicines on time”
Eric Nshimiyimana of Gahengeri MCC said: “Here was no service when I reached because they had no equipment, and by then I started advocacy, finally we got to be organized and started collecting milk. We trained 300 farmers on cow feeding, cattle diseases prevention, and cowshed construction”
“We increased milk production from zero to collecting 42.000 liters per month.” He added
Marie Claire Uwineza of Gishari MCC said: “When I got here no cattle pharmacy was there but by now, we have it. Farmers supplying milk came from 17 up to 280 per day”
Uwineza recommended for transport facilitation means in order to reach more farmers for advice-giving trainings and other guidance
Ildefonse Nyandwi Associate manager at Muyira MCC said: “In partneship with RDDP and RYAF we were given a milk detector machine and car for milk transport to dedicated markets”
Nyandwi recommended that the project should be maintained and broadened as its importance is noticeable.
RDDP project, which aims at raising rural incomes by intensifying dairy production and improving market access, was established in 2016 on a six-year duration.
Marie Claudine Mukayiranga, a vet technician employed by Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum through RDDP Project in Gishwati zone has spent a year in the area teaching farmers how to prevent lactating cows against mastitis.
She said that she tried to help cattle farmers to screen and treat the disease. “we worked with dairy farmers’ associations and we taught them how mastitis is prevailed, how it is treated and how they can prevent it. Mastitis is caused by poor hygiene when milking a cow. The main challenges we still have is to convince farmers to grow into cowsheds.
She said that all those interventions toped up the quality of milk as the Grade-2 decreased from 26,870 Liters per month to 13,252 litters. “We still have to mobilize farmers to bring milk at Milk Collection Centers (MCC) in order to improve on quality.
From RYAF Communication Team