UGANDA – Uganda’s largest dairy producer, Pearl Dairy, has urged stakeholders in the milk value chain to invest rightly in the sector to realise its full potential and become the largest revenue earner for the country.

The owner of the Lato milk brand noted that there is a lot of opportunity in the dairy sector due to the low production and consumption of milk in Uganda.

Speaking at the launch of ‘Project Prosperity’, Mr Amit Sagar, the Pearl Dairy chief executive officer, said that small-scale dairy farmers lose up to Shs15,000 per cow, per day due to low milk production.

“This hinders the country’s capacity to exploit export markets, many of which lack a suitable environment to produce natural and organic milk,” he said. 

“The average milk production of a cow in Uganda stands at five litres per day, which is much lower compared to countries such as the Netherlands and New Zealand, where a cow produces up to 20 litres or more per day.”

Mr Sagar added that in order to exploit the country’s potential, there is a need to invest in prospects that will guarantee production quality, quantity and supply of milk throughout the year.

This will involve providing inputs, which among others, include a variety of species, and cow feeds and putting in place feeding infrastructure for cattle at both large and smallholder scales. 

Mr Sagar said Uganda has the potential of earning a billion dollars in the next decade as Uganda is one of the largest exporters of milk in Africa, highlighting that the dairy sector in Uganda is extremely unique.

“What stakeholders have to do is to work with farmers to reduce the cost of production,” he explained. According to him, it was not sustainable and competitive any more to keep increasing the price of milk, thus requiring ways to stabilise farm gate prices to a rate that is fair to the farmer and the processor.  

Per the Ministry of Agriculture data, Uganda produced 2.81 billion litres of milk in 2021, and only 800 million litres were consumed within the country fetching more than US$102.5 million in foreign exchange earnings

On the other hand, Dairy Development Authority (DDA) indicated that per capita milk consumption in Uganda stands at only 62 litres, which is far below the 200 litres recommended by World Food Programme.  

The above data means that Uganda, even when internal consumption is improved, has more than two billion litres of milk available for export annually.

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