Booming milk business in Arua
Jimmy Awuzu is a cattle rancher who has been keeping cows to supply his business, Meridian Butchers, with meat and also sell to other butchers and cattle traders.“I identified a niche in the market which lacked fresh and affordable milk in Arua District (including the whole of West Nile region in Uganda). The only available good quality milk is UHT Long Life which is not quite affordable to the locals and the normal fresh milk is mostly adulterated with various chemicals to keep it from going bad quickly.
I then thought and started preparing to invest in a Dairy Farm so as to supply milk to the town,” explains Jimmy. “I also learnt that the dairy sector is growing at an annual rate of 8-10 per cent and milk consumption in Uganda is at 58 liters per person per year as compared to FAO recommendation of 200 liters per year per person.”
In September 2014, he participated in the First National Dairy event organized by Agri Pro Focus and the launch of the AAA Dairy CoP with other members from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
After analyzing the initial cost of the Dairy Farm establishment like pasteurizers, infrastructure and buying of the actual Friesian cows, the weather patterns including the high temperatures, he came to the conclusion that Western and Central Uganda had the greatest comparative advantage in milk production.
He therefore decided to source for the quality and affordable milk from them and sell it in Arua District.
“It was from the CoP Dairy meeting that a synergy was formed with another AAA member, Emmanuel Tayebwa the owner of Mtanoga Dairy farm to supply my company Meridian Chain with fresh milk from Central and Western Uganda. For this synergy, I salute AAA.”
Two milk bulk-vending centers are in the final stages of being set up in Arua Town and in the coming days, milk shall be available to the community. A Milk Bar and cafeteria are also in the pipeline to serve hot and chilled milk with snacks, yoghurt, cultured milk and ghee.
Currently the company is working towards building their brand ‘Milk X-tra’ which should become a franchise in many parts of Uganda. Plans are underway to go into pasteurization and packaging and build regional value chains with other AAA members from the region such as Shambani Milk in Tanzania.
“I am grateful to AAA for giving me the exposure, training in entrepreneurship and business planning and the opportunity to meet other players in the dairy sector,” noted Jimmy. He quotes Dr Stephen Birungi Country Director Uganda at the launch of the Dairy CoP “As milk moves from the udder of a cow to the final consumer, it should touch and change lives.”