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30 farmers in South-Western Uganda have invested an aggregated 195 million Uganda Shillings (51,100 Euros) towards the construction of milking parlours at their farms.

Farmers in South Western Uganda seem to be heeding President’s Museveni’s call to Ugandans to move away from subsistence to commercial farming.

The farmers are abandoning their traditional practices of milking cows in the bush for milking parlors.

“Times have changed and we cannot continue milking our cows in the bush. Milk production has become very commercialized and milk traders are demanding quality milk and more milk. With this milking parlor I will not only be able to start milking early unlike now when I have to wait for daylight, I will also be able to supplement the feeding for my cows as I milk them which will give me more milk,” John Tuhamize, a dairy farmer in Mbarara district had to say when asked why he invested his 6.5 million Uganda Shillings (1,700 Euros) towards the construction of a milking parlor.

30 farmers have invested an aggregated 195 million Uganda Shillings (51,100 Euros) towards the construction of milking parlors at their farms. The move follows sensitization and training of farmers by the Dairy Development Authority (DDA) in Partnership with SNV Uganda on the benefits of producing clean and quality.

SNV Uganda is implementing a four-year dairy project (The Inclusive Dairy Enterprise Project – TIDE) in South Western Uganda with funding from the Embassy of the Netherlands in Uganda. One of the key objectives of the project is to increase milk production in the cattle corridor and address quality issues in the milk value chain. Milking parlors have been identified as one of the milk productivity enhancing approaches because it facilitates clean and quality milk production and promotes supplementary concentrate feeding which leads to increased milk production.

Tuhamize milks one of his cows in the bush

Borrowing from DDA’s learnings through its construction support that enabled 13 rural farmers acquire milking parlors in 2015, SNV partnered with DDA to support rural farmers construct more milking parlors. The support which is on a cost - sharing basis requires interested farmers to invest 77% (equivalent to 6.5 million Ugandan shillings) of their income towards the purchase of all the required raw materials and SNV through the TIDE projects meets the remaining 23% (2 million Ugandan Shillings) cost of hiring a professional mason to construct the 5 cow milking parlor. This approach of support is not only reducing on the need for workshops and seminars since these farms will potentially become practical demonstration farms but is addressing sustainability issues since farmers are owning and paying for the developments on their farms.

The support, which started in June has already seen 30 farmers construct milking parlors with an additional 36 farmers lined up for the next round. SNV and DDA are targeting 500 rural farmers constructing 5-cow-milking parlors by the end of December. By the end of December, these 500 rural farmers will have invested 1.3 billion Uganda shillings towards their own development, changing the landscape for development aid from donor driven to farmer led commercial agriculture.