For my internship for Agriterra, I am doing research for the TIDE-project (The Inclusive Dairy Enterprise), a partner program with SNV, whose goal is to improve the dairy sector in South-West Uganda. Every month, we have a whole-day-meeting of the TIDE program and these meetings show that the program is really successful, as milk production and investments are increasing at fast pace and milk export has started. With Agriterra and SNV, we work with many stakeholders of the dairy sector, including the government and research institutes. Everyone participating in this project is very motivated and positive about the possibilities of the dairy sector here in Uganda, which is very inspiring.
For my research on improving the milk quality, I visit farms and analyse the milk of individual farmers. So far, I have been visiting thirty farmers and it is always an adventure. I really enjoy that every day something unexpected happens. Also, some farmers are very kind and hospitable and we get really pampered. The analysis of the milk is very important, because some farmers are adding for example water to their milk to increase the volume. Also, the components of the milk really differ per farmer and if Uganda wants to increase their export, the quality of the milk needs to increase.
In the last month, I haven’t been visiting farmers anymore. Besides analysing the data and writing my research report, I was very busy with attending meetings and discussing my research findings with colleagues. Also, I was very busy with Excel, because I have made a tool to analyse milk quality and now I have started to teach cooperatives how to handle the tool. This tool can really improve the cooperatives management, because it shows their records of production in total and the quality of the production. Also, the cooperatives can see now the production or quality from every farmer individually and therefore are able to tackle the problems on the farm level. This development is a big step forward and my biggest hope is that the cooperatives will embrace this tool. So far, I have presented it to twenty cooperatives and explained it to two cooperatives in person. Now, more follow-up is necessary and I am curious if they will take it up.
Besides this prosperous outlook, I have learned a lot about the challenges that farmers are facing in Uganda during my farm visits, which I also want to share with you.
These are my main findings:
Marije Wilting, intern Agriterra