May 2, 2013

Kigezi Dairy Cooperative On the Spot Over Farmers Cash

Some of the best local breeds of Diary Cattle
Some of the best local breeds of Diary Cattle

Members of Kigezi Dairy Co-operative Society are up in arms against the management for alleged failure to pay them for the milk supplied to the cooperative last month. The 400 dairy farmers claim Kigezi Dairy Co-operative Society owes them 22 million shillings. They claim that despite supplying milk to the cooperative last month, none of them has received a single coin. The farmers say the situation has been aggravated by the failure of the managers of the cooperative to come out and explain what is going on.

They also accuse Kigezi Dairy Co-operative Society of stopping the supply of animal drugs under unclear circumstances which has exposed their stock to diseases. Felix Nzarirwehi, a farmer from Bubaare Sub County says the society which was formed to help the farmers sell their milk in bulk has instead disappointed them. He explains that the management of the cooperative claims that it has not paid them  because their former chairperson Christopher Mulenga used their money and is yet to reimburse it.

Scovia Kasande, another dairy farmer says the mess in the society is likely to frustrate many farmers and force them to sell their milk in the open market instead of taking it to the cooperative. Kasande says that many farmers have since the beginning of this year stopped taking their milk to the collection centers. She argues that the farmers opt to sell their milk to consumers directly to get money to buy drugs and school fees for their children.

The collecting Centre in Kabale Town
The collecting Centre in Kabale Town

Fred Ntuhe, the chairperson elect Kigezi Dairy Co-operative Society limited says management is trying to find a lasting solution to the problems of the farmers. He says that they have already sent John Mutabazi, the manager ofKigezi Dairy Co-operative Society on forced leave to pave way for police investigations on what happened to the farmer’s money.

Ntuhe says that an audit of the cooperative’s books of accounts is underway to ensure the truth is revealed.  Christopher Mulenga, the former chairperson of Kigezi Dairy co-operative society has declined to comment on whether or not he borrowed the farmer’s money saying it under police investigations.

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