Lato Milk, the leading dairy processor in Uganda, has launched a new initiative called “Project Prosperity”.
Having spent over a decade in the region as a dairy processor, Lato has a wide range of dairy products to supply and works closely with smallholder dairy farmers – over 10,000 in Uganda and 5,000 in Kenya.
The average milk production of cattle in Uganda is about 5-6 liters per day, whereas cows in more advanced nations like New Zealand and the Netherlands can produce 20 liters or more.
The lost opportunity in Uganda’s dairy industry is concerning since farmers lose up to 15,000 Ugandan shillings per cow per day. Improved yields would bring prosperity to farming families, create more interest in farming for future generations and triple their income.
Lato is uniquely positioned to connect international organizations with resources and the intent to share them with smallholder dairy farmers who lack the tools and expertise to approach them.
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According to Amit SagarCEO of Pearl Daily Farms, milk consumption is growing and effectively there’s a huge demand with Uganda as the largest exporter of milk in the continent.
“The markets are growing and we need to increase capacity. And that’s why we’re also now building a new factory to increase the capacity. So, we’ll now double our capacity in the next one year so that we can cater to this growing demand. So, when we started the factory, the average price of milk was around 400 shillings a litre,” he said.
He noted that the average price of milk for the past three years has been over 1,100 shillings a litre.
“The farmer today in Uganda gets paid three times what he used to get paid before Pearl dairy came in. That has effectively tripled the income because they’re getting more for the same litre of milk. Now what we want to do is we want to work with farmers to release the cost of production,’ said Amit.
He added, “Because we cannot keep increasing the price of milk because that means we’ve become uncompetitive when we are exporting. So now our goal that we’ve now normalized the price of milk to a fair price is to now take the cost of production down on the farm. And that’s basically why we’ve got a separate project for that.”
Project Prosperity is a gateway to deliver this connection and plans to launch an Agri-fintech platform to digitize the initiative. The platform will help identify the neediest farmers and connect them with willing institutions ready to help.
The aim of Project Prosperity is to mitigate gaps and enhance profitability for smallholder farmers, starting with the dairy industry. Lato assures that with community support, this project can be a game-changer not only for dairy farmers in Uganda and Kenya but for other farmers throughout Africa.
Jane Tayebwa, a dairy farmer who has done this all her life, says that with improved pasture, she can produce more milk, thus increasing her income.
“With these cows, my income has been constant, same amount for years 20 litres for 30 years but now with this improvement of pastures, i am targeting to produce in a years, atleast 13o litres,” she said