The margin between milk sold by dairy farmers and pasteurised milk remains big and needs narrowing, the vice-president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Sector Operation, has said.
Aly Abou Sabaa, who is in the country for the ongoing AfDB Annual Meetings was speaking from Kamonyi District on Sunday as he toured different activities financed by the Bank on Sunday.
At Rugobagoba Milk Collection Centre, he learnt that farmers sell their milk at Rwf175 a litre, against the Rwf1,000 which is the average price of a litre of packed milk.
Speaking to officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Sabaa said efforts should be made to ensure the farmers get more from their efforts.
The centre, which is managed by dairy farmers cooperative, Amizero y'Aborozi, was built with support from AfDB and has capacity to receive 2,000 litres a day.
Sabaa said he was impressed with the idea of collecting milk, saying it increases farmers' bargaining power.
"Based on what I can see on the ground, the future seems to be bright for these farmers and their families," he said.
Henriette Mutoni, the dairy post-harvest storage and marketing specialist at the ministry, agreed that the price gap is still wide but said it was hard for them to set milk prices, adding that they can only play an advocacy role.
Alphonse Ngendo, the leader of the cooperative running the Rugobagoba centre, said the disparity in prices is unfair to the farmers.
"The market is unpredictable and the prices are still low," Ngendo said.
Sabaa said Rwanda has an impressive model that can be replicated elsewhere.