By Taddeo Bwambale
KAMPALA - The state minister for animal industry, Maj Bright Rwamirama has cautioned the public against consuming unprocessed milk, citing quality and safety reasons.
He appealed to Ugandans to resort to packed milk, saying it was subject to routine checks by the Government.
“We encourage people to buy packed milk because we regularly go out to supermarkets and other outlets to conduct spot-checks. We cannot guarantee the safety of unprocessed milk,” he stated.
Uganda produces an estimated 1.8 billion litres of milk per year, but 90% of it is marketed as unprocessed.
Such milk is sold at a relatively cheaper price of about sh1400 per litre, compared to sh2,000 for a one-litre sachet of processed milk. Vendors of unprocessed milk transport it in jerrycans, hawking it to homes and other sales outlets.
Addressing journalists at the media centre on Tuesday, the minister said Uganda’s capacity to process milk had increased to one million litres of milk per day.
Cooling facilities for storing milk had increased to over 900 countrywide, making processed milk available to more consumers.
Studies show that Uganda loses approximately sh50bn annually due to milk spillage, emanating from contamination, lack of markets and transport.
Despite the challenges, the diary sub-sector contributes about $11m (sh28b) per year, with increased supply throughout the sub-Saharan region and the Middle East.
On Friday this week, the Government will recognise individuals and institutions that have helped to spur development of the diary sub-sector.
The awards target dairy farms, farmers’ co-operatives, milk collection centres, transporting companies, raw milk sales outlets, processing plants and exporting companies.
The executive director of Diary Development Authority (DDA) Jolly Ziribwende said the awards were intended to encourage players to put in more effort to ensure sufficient production.
The event will be held annually to recognise leading stakeholders and emphasise good quality and safety of milk and its products.