Kenya re-opens its doors for return of Uganda’s Lato milk
Wednesday March 29 2023
Kenya has allowed Uganda’s Lato milk to invest in local dairy factories as the state ramps up competition in the dairy sector which government officials have constantly complained is dominated by one player.
Trade and Investments Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria Tuesday held bilateral talks with Uganda’s Treasury Permanent Secretary Ramadan Ggoobi where the two countries promised to work together to boost their respective dairy sectors.
The ministry said that Lato, a leading milk processor in Uganda which had significantly penetrated the Kenyan market, has signed a deal with the state-owned financier Kenya Development Corporation (KDC) to invest jointly in dairy ventures.
“The meeting focused on mutual economic and investment objectives by the two countries as a follow-up to the various bilateral meetings between to facilitate regional co-investment opportunities in strategic sectors,” said Mr Kuria.
Revive struggling factories
He said Lato will invest in Kenyan milk factories that are currently struggling in a bid to revive them in what will see the Ugandan firm take the fight for control of the lucrative milk sector to the doorstep of some well-known local dairy brands.
Brookside Dairy Limited is Kenya’s largest milk company and controls a 40 percent market share, according to the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK).
New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (New KCC) manages a 25 per cent share while Sameer Agriculture and Livestock controls 14 per cent of the market.
Others include Githunguri Dairy Cooperative (12 percent), Pascha-Uplands Premium Dairies and Food (1.7 percent), Musty Distribution (3 percent), Doodla Dairy Kenya (0.9 per cent) while others have a 3.4 per cent market share.
The Trade Ministry said Kenya and Uganda agreed to joint planning of raw materials between the two countries to ensure all-around supply in a bid to facilitate competitive production.
The Mbarara-based Lato was established in 2012 by Pearl Dairy Farms which is owned by Midland Group.
Midland Group is owned by the families of tycoons Bhasker Kotecha (50.5 percent) and Anand Kapoor (49.5 percent) according to disclosures by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
IFC extended the company a $6.5 million (Sh855 million at the current exchange rate) loan to set up the state-of-the-art Uganda milk processing plant.
Additionally, Kenya and Uganda agreed on the exemption of importation fees and levies on strategic commodities in Kenya to boost food security and integration of the commodities exchange between the two duos.