Lato Milk, the leading dairy processor in Uganda, has launched a new initiative called “Project Prosperity.” The initiative is a gateway to delivering this connection and plans to launch an Agri-fintech platform to digitize the same. The platform will help identify the neediest farmers and connect them with willing institutions ready to help.
Having spent over a decade in the region as a dairy processor, Lato has a wide range of dairy products to supply and they work closely with smallholder dairy farmers; over 10,000 in Uganda and 5,000 in Kenya. Project Prosperity aims to increase the milk yield per cow so farmers can 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, says the management.
According to Akash Kumar, co-founder of Pearl Daily Farms, 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 bad news since farmers lose up to UGX15,000 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.
Akash Kumar adds that the project team has already collected data for 1,000 dairy farmers in Uganda and is delivering a pilot programme to finalize the learnings about basic challenges and hidden opportunities before launching the digital application. The CEO of Pearl Daily Farms, Amit Sagar, says markets are growing. “Remember in Africa, the population is growing. We are doubling every 15 to 20 years.”
Indeed, milk consumption is growing, and effectively, there’s a huge demand. “Today, Uganda is the largest exporter of milk on the continent, thanks to the country`s farmers and also the efforts we have made in taking Ugandan milk to the region,” says Amit. Statistics shows that the average price of milk for the past three years has been over 1,100 shillings a liter. 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 liter of milk.
Jane Tayebwa, a dairy farmer who has done this all her life, says that with improved pasture, she can produce more milk, thus increasing the income. This is the same story Kabandize Laban of Dairy Farmer also gives. He says his cows have been moving close to 10 kilometers a day for water. With water traffic from Pearl Dairy Farm, he can produce between 80 and 100 liters a day.
The project has been endorsed by leading international companies and institutions globally, like IFC, PSFU, and 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.
- Mr. Daniels N. Tatya is an affluent Sports Writer, Commentator and Editor. His over 15 years of covering almost major sporting events makes him a revered and an authority on investigative Sports journalism in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected] +256(0)758268315
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