KAMPALA: The Government has been asked to address the issue of low pricing for Uganda’s dairy exports to enable farmers benefit from the investments.
This comes after Kenya’s President William Ruto recently boasted that Kenyans have turned to Uganda for cheaper milk for consumption while their farmers are reaping big from dairy exports after adding value.
However, local players in the livestock sector have disputed claims that Uganda’s milk is cheaper. According to Prof. Frank Assimwe, the Vice Chairperson of the Livestock Development Forum, also a Consultant Urologist explained to a local radio station that it only appears cheaper because of exploitation by middlemen who must be done away with if the farmers are to fully benefit.
“They know which kind of water to dilute the milk and will still maintain the same density. Right from the farm gates, the man who carries the milk to the collecting point if he is selling 500 or 200 litres will want an extra income for himself,” noting that they always add dirty water which improves the density of milk which will increase the quantity of milk but reduces quality in the long run.
Dairy exports fetched more than Shs382 billion for the economy compared to export earnings from the same sector in FY2020/2021 despite the drought in some milk sheds in the country.
The annual dairy performance report for FY2021/2022 by the Dairy Development Authority (DDA) shows that Shs382.2 billion was earned from dairy exports during the reviewed financial year (2021) compared to Shs344.2 billion in FY2020, an increase of eleven percent (11%).
DDA attributed the rise in export earnings to the increased compliance of Uganda’s dairy products to both regional and international standards.
However, despite the surge in the export volumes, the export destinations dropped from 18 countries in FY2020 to 16 countries after losing Qatar, United Kingdom, Czech Republic and Sri-Lanka. Only two countries were registered as new market destinations in the United States of America and Somalia.
Meanwhile in September 2023, the DDA announced that Uganda’s first official milk exports to Algeria will kick off in October of the same year, after a successful signing of a dairy trade agreement between Uganda and Algeria earlier this year.
According to the agreement, Uganda will export milk products valued at approximately $500 million. The Executive Director of the DDA, Samson Akankiza said that the initial phase of the supply will consist solely of powdered milk and has undergone Algeria’s stringent procurement procedures, which have now been completed.
The three selected companies involved in the trade are Amos Dairies, Pearl Dairies, and Brookside Dairies.