Rwandans Feel the Pain as Milk Prices Increase

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By Buningwire William

Drought conditions in parts of Rwanda have worsened an already struggling food security situation, which has been exacerbated by high milk prices. Rwanda Eye spoke to residents in parts of Nyagatare and Gatsibo district and Kigali city who highlighted some of the challenges and their coping strategies.

In areas close to a Kagera River’s in Rwimpashya sector of Nyagatare sector, residents live off pastoralism and riverine farming, but the drought has had an adverse impact.

According to a mini-survey done by Rwanda Eye, it was established that milk prices have hiked exorbitantly because of prolonged dry spells leading to the decline in milk production.

During the survey it was found that milk agents in different urban areas across the country including Kigali city sell at different prices ranging from Frw350-Frw500 per liter which has caused discontent among consumers.

“There are no harmonized prices because everyone fixes prices as he or she wishes” one milk consumer complained.

A litre of processed and pasteurised milk is sold selling for about Frw1000.

Mushaija Charles farmer in Matimba sector Nyagatare district said that milk is a commodity that fluctuates with weather.

“We often hear the comment, my feed bill is too high -the drought had affected the supply of fodder used as animal feed, thereby affecting milk production” Mushaija noted.

He adds that the effects of the drought present is a reality check for the country’s underdeveloped animal husbandry practices.

The country depends largely on the open grazing system, which is vulnerable to weather shocks. Figures from Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) show that the current national cattle population is about 1.3 million.

 

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