Milk Bar In Rumbek In Need Of Support For Business To Continue As Usual

A project supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA) and Veterinary San Frontier (VSF) Belgium known as the milk bar which was handed over to the government of Western Lakes early this year is in need of support in order for it to continue operating.

Milk Bar In Rumbek In Need Of Support For Business To Continue As Usual
A lady serving milk to customers at the milk bar [Photo| Mabor Riak]

By Mabor Riak Magok

RUMBEK, 20 December 2017 [Gurtong] -
The milk bar has created jobs for many in Rumbek mostly women interested in the business of selling milk.

The employees who call themselves the milk-bar association also contributed funds for the project to be a success during its inception.

Hellena Yar Mabor, 30 years old is one of the members of the milk bar association. She explains to Gurtong how the business began.

“We started this business of buying and selling milk to customers after the inception and inauguration of Rumbek milk-bar early this year 2017 by the FOA and VSF Belgium. We made contributions from all 31 members of the milk-bar association. Each woman contributed SSP 500 during the beginning of the business and we also got support of 60, 000 SSP from FOA as the initial capital for starting this business which was paid to us in two phase: the first was 30,000 SSP and the second another 30,000 SSP making a total of 60, 000 SSP,” said Yar.

“We divided ourselves in two teams. One team was assigned to go out to bring fresh milk and the other team was assigned to bring soar milk. We had different customers dealing with us here in this milk-bar. There are those customers who like to buy from us fresh milk for their children and there are those who want both fresh milk and soar. And then there are those who come to drink what is available with here in the bar”. Yar said.

In June this year the price of a cup of milk from the cattle camp mobile sellers was going for 75 SSP and was sold to customers at the milk bar for 120 SSP. Making a total profit of 45 SSP.

“We had enough milk available by then, starting from June up to September because the cattle camps were very nearby town. Our milk bar premise was overcrowded throughout with long queues. We usually get busy throughout the whole day from morning up to late in the evening hours. Collecting a lot of money from the customers who buy milk. We don’t wait for the end of the month to get our salary. We usually get payment after every after 7-days. Each person was paid according to the number of cups of milks she got from the cattle camps. The least a person can be paid is usually 3,000 SSP and the highest payment is 7,000 SSP.”

With the movement of cattle to far places in search of pasture the women no longer get enough supply of milk because they cannot afford to go all the way to look for milk.

In Toch-manyiel grazing land, the distance is about four hours if a person is to walk from Rumbek town and two and a half hours if one has a bicycle, of which they women do not have.

“As I am speaking to you now in this milk bar, the supply of milk has significantly dropped completely while our customers are still demanding for milk. People are still coming here.
Others don’t get anything at all. We are just serving our customers with milk on the basis of “early bird catches the warm” in this milk bar”.  Yar explains.

She also said the recent clashes between the ethnic communities of the Pakam, Kuei and Rup in Malek County and Cuei-arol has disrupted their business and made matters worse for those who supply them with fresh milk from the cattle camps.

“We have another scenario which has created fear as a result of the recent fighting which made women be a target of the intra-communal conflict in Rumbek. This new scenario has caused a lot of panic and negative impact on the business that we are doing,” said Yar.

Yar urges FOA and VSF Belgium to continue supporting milk-bar women group Business association with little money.

“We know only food and Agriculture organization (FOA) which constructed this premises and supported us with initial capital of 60,000 SSP and if our situation and live is turning upside-down like now , we will urged them to support again because we have families and children whom are responsibility in home and losing this job will greatly affect us. We want FOA and VSF German and any other willing organization to back up our Business from the stage of collapse.  We are organized group of 31 members of this milkbar and we are likely to lose the Job during this period of about three months if there is no support coming somewhere to back us up in dealing with another business until that milk season get us“. Said Yar.

Mary Amou Deng, 40 year old said that they longer receive their seven days wages anymore following the challenges they are facing.

She says that they however will appeal to FAO and VSF Germany to support them for the business to continue.

“We are planning to ask for support from FOA and VSF German who are responsible for the construction of this project. So that they can at least give us some little money. The situation has turned. People are no longer getting their payment in the 7-days as before. It has been two months now without money since October. And the work at the milk bar has as well dropped. “. Mary Amou said.

She said that should they receive support they are ready to open a restaurant to keep them going until they can be able to get milk from the cattle keepers and continue with the milk business.


Posted in: Featured Stories
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23/12/2017, 11:38 AM
 - Posted by Jacob Akol
This Milk Bar is an excellent development idea. Maybe the women should acquire a good piece of land near Rumbek and start a close to Zero Grazing method growing their own grass for milk cows? Such expertise can be hired for a period from Kenya or Uganda. Such farms can also improve breeding for more-milk producing cows?
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