UGANDA – In 2023, Uganda reached a significant milestone in its dairy industry, with milk production surpassing the 3 billion liter mark for the first time.

According to data from the Dairy Development Authority (DDA), the country produced 3.85 billion liters of milk in the financial year 2022/23, representing a remarkable 37% increase compared to the 2.81 billion liters produced in the previous financial year.

The expansion of Uganda’s dairy herd has played a crucial role in this growth. Over the past decade, the number of cattle in Uganda has steadily increased, reaching an estimated 16.7 million heads in 2023, up from 13 million in 2013.

However, DDA Board Chairperson Rtd Rev Canon Sandra Mwebaze attributes the significant rise in milk production primarily to the improvement in cattle quality through community breeding programs.

These initiatives, led by the DDA in collaboration with Uganda’s National Animal Genetic Resources Center and Data Bank (NAGRC&DA), have been pivotal in enhancing milk yields.

The impact of these breeding programs is most evident in regions such as the central and western parts of Uganda, where high-yielding dairy breeds are prevalent.

These regions boast the highest average milk productivity per cow, with central Uganda averaging 6.6 liters per cow and western Uganda averaging 6.2 liters per cow.

In contrast, the Karamoja region, dominated by indigenous cattle breeds, registers the lowest average milk productivity at 2.9 liters per cow.

Rtd Rev Canon Mwebaze emphasized that achieving record milk production despite some areas experiencing drought highlights the resilience and adaptability of Uganda’s dairy sector.

To mitigate the adverse effects of drought, significant emphasis has been placed on fodder security and water conservation.

The Dairy Development Authority has been proactive in this area, providing improved pasture varieties to farmers and promoting their adoption within communities.

Additionally, the DDA has been offering training in silage and hay production to ensure that cattle are adequately fed during periods of rainfall scarcity.

The government has also encouraged dairy farmers to construct dams on their farms to secure water availability for their livestock during dry spells.

Lt. Col. (Rtd). Dr. Kanyontore noted that the adoption of high-yielding cattle breeds is just one aspect of Uganda’s strategy to enhance milk production.

The combined efforts in breeding, fodder management, and water conservation have collectively contributed to the country’s highest-ever milk production figures.

As Uganda continues to improve its dairy infrastructure and practices, the country’s dairy sector is set to become a significant player in the region, contributing to both national food security and economic growth.

Read the full article from the Dairy Business Africa Magazine

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