KENYA – The Kenyan dairy sector regulator, Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) has given the green light for the resumption of milk powder imports from Uganda to Kenya.

The approval, announced on April 22, marked the end of almost a year since the dairy trades between the two countries were suspended due to restrictions by the Kenyan authorities on the granting of export permits to Ugandan operators. 

According to KDB, the approach was made to allow local supplies of more milk as a drop in production is anticipated as dry months, July-August and December-February approach.

On the other hand, Samson Mpiira, executive director of the Uganda Milk Development Authority (DDA), appreciated the approach noting that the announcement comes at the right time for the Ugandan industry which was looking for an outlet to sell its surplus production initially intended for Algeria.

“Our producers have increased their production in the hope of exporting to Algeria, but a year after getting the green light for this market, no powder has left the milk powder factories in Kampala and Mbarara for Algiers,” he said.

“This is due to difficulties in accessing the Algerian market by sea linked to high freight costs fueled by Houthi attacks in the Red Sea which began in October 2023.”

 In addition, he noted that Kenya is to increase the number of milk importation permits to more milk powder from Uganda which they have been restricting to be landed on their market.

However, the Ugandan leading milk processor, Brookside Uganda, is unlikely to benefit from this window, as authorities in Kenya maintain the ban on dairy products produced by the manufacturer.

This leaves Pearl Diaries and Amos Diaries to take advantage of the milk powder market in Kenya, but the two are also not exporting as much to Kenya, which continues to keep out Uganda’s milk powder to create a market for liquid milk, especially during times of overproduction.

“Liquid milk exports are accepted in Kenya but milk powder is restricted. This is because each kilogramme of powdered milk stopped, the market for 10 litres of liquid milk is protected,” DDA noted.

According to trading data from DDA, despite the market entry challenges, milk powder is now the most exported product accounting for approximately 54.2 % of the total exports followed by UHT at 33.1%.

Meanwhile, undeterred by trade barriers in Kenya as its largest client, Uganda is forging ahead with its efforts to elevate its dairy industry onto a global scale.

After all, dairy production stands as a vital economic activity, employing an estimated 100, 000 people and contributing 6.5% to the country’s Agricultural Gross Domestic (GDP).

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