A recent inspection of the milk on sale in the country has raised concerns over its quality.
Rwanda Standard Board (RSB) inspection team has faulted many of the milk sellers in the country for vending poor quality milk laced with other substances as several milk traders were found to lack proper facilities to ensure milk is not contaminated.
“We found that many of the people in the milk industry blame quality on the lack of basic requirements like electricity, clean water, cooling facilities to ensure the milk is safe for consumption,” said Raymond Murenzi, director-general of RSB.
“We also found some traders mixing milk with water, and lacing it with wheat flour or other white products to fake the quality,” he added.
Out of 68 milk-zones inspected countrywide, it was found that only one per cent meet all the required standards while 9 per cent of them meet the “satisfactory” required standards.
The inspection indicated that 84 per cent of the milk-zones are meeting the basic standards while 5.9 per cent were found to have flouted the food safety standards.
However, Mr Murenzi said within the milk value chain, processing factories were found to be clean, with majority of them having the standard mark issued by RSB, but challenges were noted in distribution process.
On the other hand, the milk-zone owners in Kigali blamed the high cost of operation since the market flooded by informal milk distributors selling non-pasteurised milk at lower prices.
Milk zones are standard distribution points of milk especially in Kigali, but they face stiff competition from individual milk distributors who hawk milk from home to home on bicycles.
Milk zone owners say that milkmen who carry milk in cans on bicycles are responsible for substandard milk available in the market.
“Running milk zones with the required standard is a costly venture which is turning out not to be lucrative since the market are flooded with informal milk distributors who eat into the market yet at the same time they don’t meet set food safety standards,” said William Kagaba, a milkzone owner in Kigali.