However, Uganda’s milk industry players continue to grapple with non issuance of export permits and sometimes delays in issuance of the same by the Kenya Dairy Board. Sources are indicating that some processors are not getting the permits at all questioning the criteria Kenya dairy daily board is using to award the permits. Musafari Hamidu, a truck driver of one of the leading milk companies in Uganda says that initially, each milk processor would get permits for 5 trucks a day through the Kenyan border although right now, only a few trucks can be cleared for an entire week. ‘As a truck driver, I have been rendered idle because most times, am seated for close to a week waiting for the permits clearance before milk products can be loaded onto my truck from the factories.”
Kenya has been the leading buyer of Uganda’s milk products, although the trade relations have not been consistent due to several barriers, prompting Uganda to search for new markets for its milk and milk products. According to Uganda’s Dairy Development Authority, the country has established new markets for its milk, which include the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Zambia and Algeria. Others are United Arab Emirates, Syria, Japan, Oman, USA, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Currently, DDA reports over 880 licensed dairy businesses. Of these, some of the major producers include Pearl Dairies, Brookside Limited/ Fresh Dairy, Jesa Farm Dairy, Amos Dairies Uganda Limited, Paramount Dairies Limited, GBK Dairy Products Limited and Lakeside Dairy Limited among others.
Kenya Dairy Board issued a statement dated 6th March 2023 stating that the Government of Kenya had stopped the importation of milk powders to cushion the industry from surplus production and low producer prices. Consequently, the Kenya Dairy Board said that it would monitor the production and demand for milk and milk products in the country and advise its Government accordingly.
This announcement directly reinstated the 2021 ban of Ugandan milk products importation into Kenya which went against Kenyan President Ruto’s directive to lift a ban on Ugandan agricultural produce such as milk, eggs and chicken. This followed a meeting between President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Kenyan Trade Minister Kuria Moses in Kampala, late January 2023.
According to the Dairy Development Authority (DDA) of Uganda, Milk production is estimated to have increased from 2.08 billion litres in 2015 to 2.64 billion litres in 2020. By the end of 2021 milk production was estimated to reach 2.81 billion short of the target of 3.0 billion litres. Dairy exports in the country reached a record high of 358.6 billion UGX in the last four years and nearly doubled compared to last FY 2019/20 with dairy equipment valued at 18.9 billion UGX being imported in the country to support the growing trade. This implies that milk production in Uganda is on the increase with massive investments by dairy producers and farmers.