PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni yesterday opened a milk powder plant, the first in Uganda, and called for the removal of taxes on the production of milk. The plant, a joint venture between the Sameer Group of Kenya and the India-based Jaipuriya Group, will process 250,000 litres of milk per day.
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni yesterday opened a milk powder plant, the first in Uganda, and called for the removal of taxes on the production of milk.
â€œWe are going to remove all these obstacles. The tax on processed milk must be removed. Taxes on aluminum cans used for transportation and taxes on bulk carriers, like tankers, must be removed,â€ he said at the inauguration of the Sameer Agriculture and Livestock (SAL) plant in Industrial Area, Kampala.
The plant, a joint venture between the Sameer Group of Kenya and the India-based Jaipuriya Group, will process 250,000 litres of milk per day. The President also flagged off a consignment of 15 tonnes of milk powder for export to Syria.
Museveni said some people had resisted the sale of the Dairy Corporation, which had been processing only 35,000 litres per day.
â€œIgnorance is a serious disease. Since the 1960s, this little factory was processing 35,000 litres of milk. The new plant will process 73 million litres per annum for the local and international market. Milk production will now fetch $36m to $40m per year.â€
Ugandaâ€™s over-all milk production increased from 700 million litres in 2000 to 1.4 billion litres in 2006, he noted. This had led to higher incomes for the 20% of households engaged in livestock farming.
â€œUnfortunately, only 20% of the milk produced is processed by the formal sector. Because of lack of processing capacity, Uganda imports milk to fill the gap,â€ the President remarked.
At 50 litres per person per year, milk consumption per capita is still low in Uganda, Museveni further noted. The World Health Organisation recommends a consumption of 200 litres per person per year.
â€œIn Africa, the average per capita consumption is 33 litres. Africa has a huge market potential for Ugandaâ€™s milk.â€
Naushad Merali, the chairman of the Sameer Group, said they had invested $15m, with more planned to expand their operations.
â€œRaw milk collection has increased from 40,000 litres per day to 140,000 litres. This will go up to 400,000 per day. It is up to farmers to ensure that more milk is produced,â€ he said.
Ravi Jaipuriya, the chairman of the Jaipuriya Group, announced that the new plant would export milk powder to Sudan, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, the Middle East and India.
He noted that the bad roads in Kazo and Sembabule hampered milk collection, especially during the rainy season. He also pointed out that there was need for improvement of farming methods to increase milk production and lower the cost of production.
â€œSameer will establish a model dairy farm to provide free training to farmers. We need land in the milk catchment areas to establish this institute,â€ he said.
Michael Kanyamuyenga of the Kazo Dairy Farmers Association said his union had increased milk collection from 5,000 litres to 15,000 litres per day, thanks to the new plant.
â€œAll the milk collected by the union is bought by Sameer and the payments are regular. Our sales turnover increased from sh57m in December 2007 to sh171m by April 2008.â€
He, however, decried the poor road infrastructure, lack of power and poor breeds which produced less milk. He also appealed for funds to purchase milk tankers for the transportation of their products.
In response, the President pledged to remove the obstacles to milk production through improved roads and railways and better breeds of cattle.
He asked the Ministry of Agriculture to explore breeds from Australia and Canada. He also directed the Uganda Investment Authority to find land for the Sameer Group to set up a demonstration farm as well as a fruit processing plant.
Uganda produces first milk powder