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Kenya’s restrictions leave Uganda stuck with 24m litres of milk

Tuesday June 13 2023
uganda milk produce

Traders empty milk from a tank in Katwe, Kampala, Uganda in 2015. PHOTO | FILE

By Daily Monitor

Uganda says Kenya’s restrictions on importing dairy products has left Ugandan processors stuck with 24 million litres of milk.

The Dairy Development Authority (DDA) said that while Nairobi has not imposed a ban, it is limiting the issuance of permits needed to access its market.

“It is not like Kenya has issued a formal ban, but this is through a refusal of import permits, which is a requirement for access to the market,” said Dr Samson Akankiza Mpiira, the acting Executive Director of DDA.

“You ask for 18 permits, and they release one or two. So, it appears Kenya is open (to the importation of milk from Uganda). But are these the expected volumes of trade? No,” he added.

Read: Kenya limits Brookside Uganda products entry

According to DDA, Uganda produces about 3.2 billion litres of milk per year against a domestic consumption of under one billion litres annually.

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Dr Akankiza said Kenya has capacity to absorb around 700 million litres of Uganda’s milk every year but only around 200 million litres of milk from the country is sold to it annually.

“That wouldn’t disturb market for their local farmers because they have deficit in production of 2.2 billion litres,” he said.

Read: Kenya re-opens doors for Uganda’s Lato milk

Agriculture Permanent Secretary Maj-Gen David Kasura Kyomukama said besides promoting local consumption through school milk-feeding programme, the government will export to other countries due to Kenya’s restrictions.

“Most of the inputs we use in Uganda come from Kenya. For example, they sell us animal vaccines. So, if you are not buying my milk, where do you think it will go? Or if you are slow in buying my milk, don’t you think I can also become slow in buying inputs from you?” he posed.

“Those who are slow in clearing imports from Uganda are playing with fire. They buy maize from our gardens,” he added.

Read: Food fights erupt again in EAC

However, he noted that Uganda got a market from Algeria.

“These people are coming to Uganda next week. Already, people are taking our milk there, but we want to formalise it. There is a big market in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. The Kenyan market is just historical but it not going to collapse our agriculture,” he added.

Read: Uganda turns to N. Africa for milk market

According to information from the DDA, other importers of Uganda’s milk include Egypt, United Arabs Emirates, Japan, Ethiopia and Tanzania. The DDA also indicated that the Algerian market deal would absorb around 1.4 billion litres of milk worth around $500 million (Ush1.8 trillion). They didn’t specify the number of years.

Statistics from DDA also indicate that in 2021/2022 financial year, dairy exports bounced back at $102.6 million (Ush379.6 billion) from $92.4 million (Ush341.8 billion) in 2020/2021 financial year.

Dr Akankiza said that owing to restrictions in exportation to Kenya, limited export opportunities in other countries and low local consumption, the gate price of milk is on the decline.

“The gate price of milk had stabilised at Ush1000 ($0.27), but it has gone down to Ush600 ($0.16) but in some areas that are hard to reach, it has gone down to even Ush400 ($0.11) per litre,” he said.

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