Uganda gains new access to Zambia’s dairy market

UGANDA – Uganda has gained new access to Zambia’s dairy market despite a long-standing impasse with Kenya on ban on the export of powdered milk.

While unavailing the new market, Pearl Dairy flagged off 50 tons of powdered milk to Zambia.

During the launch, Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), thanked Pearl Dairy for ensuring a high standard investment contribution towards the development of the dairy value chain of Ugandan milk.

“I congratulate you for this breakthrough in the new market and for being consistent in ensuring quality standards. Whoever says, he can not take Ugandan milk because of quality issues, is either speaking out of ignorance or malice,” said Minister Tumwebaze.

He also applauded Zambia and Coca-Cola for the policy of supporting African products.

“With such new milk markets, dairy farming will gain more momentum enticing farmers to advance its production capacities to satisfy the export market,” said Minister Tumwebaze.

Minister Tumwebaze condemned international companies rejecting Uganda’s milk without carrying out tastes and research.

“There is no rocket science here. If you doubt the quality of our milk, come and taste it because standards are not unique to a country, they are universal. So, I want to appeal to Ugandans especially you the media and the elite who would like to take wrong propaganda online and elsewhere, you are doing us a disservice,” the minister said.

Tumwebaze cautioned farmers and processors to build their farms, factories and companies with a focus on its value chain in order to sustain the products market.

“The value chain helps a farmer to be sensitive on what the market requires and at MAAIF, we want to follow the value chain flow. If its beef which is still one of the undeveloped value chains, how do we prepare our beef exports for the international market?”

Gen David Kajura Kyomukama, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture also emphasized that the issue of agriculture in Uganda is an issue of production and productivity, post-harvest handling, marketing, pasteurization and adding value to industrialization.

“All of them are linked because without market, people produce at a loss because the price will go down. And if you are not consistent in what you produce at your factory; you will not have market for your products. The world now is keen on food safety and quality standards which is one of our ethical codes as a ministry,” Kyomukama advised.

“I will continue to push our neighbors to discuss the trade issues and we hope bilaterally and in the spirit of the East African Corporation, we will get a way forward in as far as a win-win trade between Kenya and Uganda is concerned,” Tumwebaze explained.

Lt Col James Mwesigye, the Resident City Commissioner (RCC) Mbarara, appreciated Pearl Dairy as a leading factory in creating employment opportunities to the people of the western region.

“I remember one time when they were stopped from taking their products to Kenya, they took some days without operating and the whole of western region was crying. So, when you are helping Pearl Dairy, you are indirectly helping a farmer also to get money,” says Mwesigye

Lord Mayor, Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi appealed to the government to improve on the quality of acaricides which has become a public issue among farmers to fight tick borne diseases in the region.

“I am sure our milk standards will increase but I request the government to improve on the quality of drugs which farmers use especially those used to fight ticks such that our farmers can stop suffering unnecessary expenditures on drugs,” says Kakyebezi.

Bijoy Varghese, the General Manager, of Pearl Diary, the first to supply milk products to the new market said the factory consumes 800,000 litres of milk daily collected from 100,00 farmers from the Ankole cattle corridor.

Pearl Dairy Farms Ltd is a milk processing company located in Biharwe, a neighborhood along the Masaka-Mbarara Road.

The dairy factory is one of Uganda’s top milk processors built on 15 acres (6.1 ha)with capacity to process over 800,000 litres of milk daily for the last 9 years.

It processes Lato Milk and its branded products such as flavored milk, yoghurt, ghee, powdered milk, UHT milk, butter and flavored milk as the four leading export products for the dairy company in Uganda.

The dairy factory has invested heavily in its state-of-the-art processing plant that exports its products to over 20 countries including; Japan, Nepal, UAE, Egypt, Oman, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Malawi, Ethiopia, and South Sudan among others.

“We produce world class quality products that conform to both the local and international market standards. And within the last 2 years, we have expanded our reach to Malawi, Ethiopia, and Burundi,” said Varghese.

According to statistics from the Dairy Development Authority, milk production in the country has increased from 2.5 billion litres in 2018 to 2.8 billion litres in 2020 and also the dairy exports have increased to over Shs.341 billion in the last four years.

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