Abesigana Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society has started processing pro-biotic yoghurt on commercial scale.
The Cooperative, one of 77 supported by The Inclusive Dairy Enterprise (TIDE) project constructed its mini processing plant late last year and started producing yoghurt in July this year. Abesigana currently processes 1,010 litres of yoghurt daily under the brand name Abba Yoghurt with a plan to scale this to over 2,800 litres per day over the next five years.
This is in line with TIDE project's goal of promoting the development of the domestic milk market by supporting cooperatives to diversify their business portfolio beyond bulking and selling raw milk to engaging in business and farmer support activities. TIDE partnered with Yoba for Life - a foundation based in the Netherlands that developed an innovative starter culture containing the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus Rhamnosus Yoba. Through the partnership, the project trained six cooperatives to process pro-biotic yoghurt.
Abesigana brand of yoghurt
Abesigana is one of the cooperatives in Mbarara district that benefited from the training. Established in 2006, the core business of the cooperative is milk collection, bulking, and marketing on behalf of its members. On average the cooperative bulks 15,000 litres of milk per day with annual milk sales of 3.7 Billion UGX (EUR 909,766). With support from TIDE, the cooperative successfully launched its yoghurt processing plant. Abesigana’s goal is to move into full processing of milk and milk products in the near future so as to add value to its milk and to its members.
With support from the project, the cooperative also broadened its services to include provision of financial services, having established a saving and credit unit (SACCO) to serve its members. Currently, member savings in the SACCO stand at over 376 Million UGX (EUR 91,055) with a loan portfolio of over 652 Million UGX (EUR 157,793). In addition, the cooperative has a fully dedicated extension officer that provides on-farm dairy advisory services on good animal husbandry practices. It also has a farm mechanization unit under the control of its youth group who provide silage ensiling services to the members of the cooperative.
TIDE has been supporting cooperatives in Southwestern Uganda to improve their operations, governance and financial management practices so that they can deliver value to their members. Out of the 77 cooperatives that the project has supported, 54 are now rated bankable and able to access loans from Commercial banks, SACCOs and micro-finance institutions.
The TIDE project is funded by the Netherlands Embassy and is in its second phase, which runs from 2020-2023. The second phase focuses on market development to ensure that stakeholders deliver products and services to dairy farmers that are accessible, relevant, affordable and of high quality and in ensuring that farmers have enhanced knowledge and skills to reap maximum benefits from these investments. These interventions include deepening dairy value chain linkages through support to cooperatives and up-scaling by supporting more cooperatives in other districts.
Know more about the TIDE project here.