Uganda has enough milk to supply the local market and fulfill a large chunk of regional demands, Mr Odrek Rwabogo, a partner in Vital-Tomosi, the producers of Milkman yoghurt, has said.
Speaking at the launch of Vital-Tomosi’s $15m daily products plant in Rushere, Kanungu District last week, Mr Rwabogo said that with the capacity to produce more than 2.2 billion litres of milk per annum, government needs to limit imports in order to grow local capacity.
“There is no need for importation of low cost dairy products from Europe, US and other parts into Uganda. These imports depress our market yet Ugandan companies aren’t reciprocally selling to the West,” he said, emphasising that whereas the World Trade Organisation requires reciprocal trade regimes, Uganda was doing “so little to nothing in sales to developed markets, particularly in the dairy products sector.
Uganda continues to face a high cost of production, which results from infrastructure, logistical and distribution challenges.
This, Mr Rwabogo said, puts local producers at a disadvantaged because they have to compete with imports that benefit from subsides and built capacity of about 100 years.
“I pleaded with the leadership and public institutions of Uganda to limit these foreign products in order to trigger increasing productive capabilities of local players,” he said, adding that farmers, especially from the West, benefit from subsidies which allows them to sell their products cheaply anywhere in the world.
Uganda has over the years, although they have been reducing, allowed importation of dairy products which compromises local capacity.
This, Mr Rwabogo said, must be limited through creation of a local content policy to help to support quality products produced locally.
According to DDA, Uganda currently has a milk per capita consumption of 62 litres, which has grown from 25 litres in 1986. Much of this which represents 85 percent, is consumed while 15 percent is processed.