Ntoroko Milk Plants Rot Away

2297 Views Ntoroko, Uganda

In short
Some of the equipment which include a chiller, pasteurizer, a packaging machine and generator have rusted and are covered with dust and cobwebs.

Two milk plants constructed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fisheries in Ntoroko district last year have been left to rot away.The milk plants are located in Rwebisengo trading centre. Since the plants were constructed they have never been put to use. Some of the equipment which include a chiller, pasteurizer, a packaging machine and generator have rusted and are covered with dust and cobwebs. The farmers who produce large quantity of milk are forced to consume it and the rest is left to go bad, because there is nowhere to sell it.  Some of the farmers interviewed by URN say they are not aware of the existence of the milk plant, while others cite its location as a big challenge.

Francis Bagonza, a dairy farmer in Rwebisengo trading centre says that he isn’t aware of the existence of the milk plants. He says that they have been inquiring from the district about the plant but got no response. Bagonza states that several farmers have left liters of milk to go bad because they have nowhere to sell it. Jimmy Mugenyi, the chairperson of Ntoroko dairy farmers association, says that the farmers aren’t using the plant because of the location. Mugenyi says that the plants were established in Rwebisengo which isn’t a busy place and can’t attract customers. He says that the plant should have been established at Karugutu Trading center, along the Fort Portal-Bundibugyo highway which is more accessible by people from Fort Portal, Bundibugyo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC).

Mugenyi also says that some of the farmers were willing to provide transport to take the milk to Karugutu. However Patrick Businge, the district agricultural officer Ntoroko claims that the farmers are aware of the milk plant, but don’t want to utilize it. He also denies claims that the plant is ever closed. Asked if the plant has ever operated since it was established, Bagonza accused the farmers of being lazy. He says that some farmers don’t want to take products to the plant, but instead prefer to make local ghee on their own, which he says is of poor quality. Statistics from the district agricultural department indicate that there are 160000 heads of cattle in the district and 80% of the residents are dairy farmers. 

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.