By Spy Uganda
Lato Milk, the leading dairy processor in Uganda, has launched a new initiative called “Project Prosperity” (www.project-prosperity.com).
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.
According to initiators, Project Prosperity aims to increase the milk yield per cow for farmers to earn more and improve their families’ prosperity.
Lato’s management has been working closely with the farmers for years and is well-informed about the lack of resources and expensive financial interest rates that hinder growth. 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.
Now, Amit Sagar the CEO of Pearl Dairy Farm, there is need to increase capacity in milk production since markets are growing bigger.
”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 for this growing demand. When we started the factory, the average price of milk was around 400 shillings a litre,” said Sagar.
He said the Project 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 project team has already collected data for 1,000 dairy farmers in Uganda and is delivering a pilot program to finalize the learnings about basic challenges and hidden opportunities before launching the digital application,” added Sagar.
On his part Akash Kumar a Co- founder at Pearl Daily Farms, the Project will also be able to attract international expertise to help local farmers.
”Do you know our farmer is producing an average of 5 litres of milk per day? Whereas in the international community, an average farmer produces about 15 to 20 litres a day. So, the gap is very obvious, and it is huge. So, yes. And when there is a gap, we as processors feel it is our responsibility to address it. So that’s how Project Prosperity will operate is to bring international expertise and make a pool of international expertise for people, like IFFC, for example, or the worldwide MasterCard Foundation,” said Mr Kumar.
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 whereas Laban Kabandize also dairy farmer says his cows have been moving close to 10 kilometers a day for water. With water traffic from Pearl Dairy Farm, he says he can produce between 80 and 100 litres of milk a day.
Meanwhile, this site has learnt that the project has already been endorsed by leading international companies and institutions globally like IFC, PSFU, SNV, universities such as the University of Southern California, and government bodies like the Dairy Development Authority of Uganda.
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.