Uganda’s milk production has witnessed a substantial 37% growth, reaching 3.85 billion litres during the 2022/2023 year, despite challenges like drought in certain production regions. The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries reported a noteworthy surge in export value, doubling to $264.5 million (approximately 1 trillion shillings), compared to the previous year’s $102.6 million (388 billion shillings).
While processing and exports have shown an upward trend, livestock farmers grapple with fluctuating prices, especially during peak output periods. In some rural areas, the price per litre fluctuates from 1,800 shillings to as low as 1,000 shillings, creating challenges for farmers. However, the rise of cooperatives focusing on transportation and marketing has helped overcome these issues in many areas.
The intermittent closures and restrictions on dairy imports by Kenya, Uganda’s major export market for liquid dairy products, have posed challenges to the sector. Dr. Bright Rwamirama, the Minister of State for Animal Industry, highlighted the impact on farmers’ incomes and job losses at processors in 2022. Despite these hurdles, the minister expressed optimism, citing new market deals with Senegal and Algeria that are expected to yield positive results.
Rwamirama emphasized the need for increased local consumption to enhance nutritional health and support the domestic industry amid export market challenges. Uganda currently produces more milk than it consumes, with consumption rates falling below the World Health Organization’s recommended 200 litres per person per year. The minister encouraged exploring ways to boost domestic consumption, particularly among school-going children.
Under the Clean Milk Production Campaign, the government has been assisting cooperatives and farmers with dairy equipment to improve standards. The focus is now shifting to value addition, with an emphasis on encouraging milk powder processing for extended shelf life and access to distant markets.
Rwamirama also revealed plans for the nationwide rollout of a locally produced anti-tick vaccine following successful trials in 2022. The vaccine aims to save farmers from losses incurred due to counterfeit and low-quality chemicals. The injectable vaccine has shown promising results against various tick species. Additionally, the ministry has launched initiatives to improve the quality and availability of high-yielding dairy breeds through community breeding and bringing Artificial Insemination services closer to farmers.