This month, Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate the dairy industry and its contributions to the world. In Uganda, Dairy Development Authority (DDA) is mandated to regulate the diary sector and coordinate stakeholders to promote dairy products. This year’s June Dairy Month is marked unde
By Andrew Masinde
This month, Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate the dairy industry and its contributions to the world. In Uganda, Dairy Development Authority (DDA) is mandated to regulate the diary sector and coordinate stakeholders to promote dairy products. This year’s June Dairy Month is marked under the theme, Increasing Milk Production to Match Growing Demand.
The dairy sector in Uganda has responded positively to agricultural sector liberalisation policies that took effect in the 1990s. Total national milk production has grown from 460 million litres in 1990 to 1.6 billion litres in 2011, with per capita milk consumption growing from 16 litres in 1986 to 58 litres by 2010. A variety of dairy products that were previously imported are now being produced locally in the country.
Driven largely by dairy, the livestock sector has maintained positive growth rates averaging 3% per annum compared to the declining growth rates registered in the food and cash crop sub-sectors. Development of the value chain in the dairy sector has led to employment creation and in come generation not only for about 700,000 dairy farming households, but also for farm input dealers and dairy equipment dealers.
Other sections include dairy ingredients dealers, raw milk traders, milk transporters, mini-dairies, large-scale milk processors and distributors. As a result of value addition, there has been an increase in the milk farm-gate prices from an average of sh450 to sh800 per litre. This year, the value and quantity of milk and dairy exports is expected to be $12.1m, a rise from $11.5m in 2012, and $3.4m in 2011.
While milk production has improved, the biggest percentage goes unprocessed. Only 20% of the country’s milk output is processed. Local farmers, however, are getting together in their groups to process the milk. With the increase of small and medium-size dairy farming, and the long-standing ban on importation of dairy animals, the demand for good quality dairy stock has greatly increased over the last decade.
Currently, the demand for high grade in-calf heifers is more than the supply and hence prices of quality breeding animals are high. Of the milk produced, 70% is marketed and 30% is consumed at the farm level. The country is among the few low-cost producers of milk in the world. Uganda’s dairy sector has registered commendable growth averaging eight to 10% since 1991. Annual production of milk by 2008 had reached an estimated 1.526 billion litres from 365 million litres in 1991. Uganda’s milk processing capacity per day has in the last one year grown by nearly 460,000 litres following growing local and regional demand for Ugandan milk and milk products.
According to state minister for animal husbandry, Bright Rwamirama, the country’s daily milk processing capacity has raised from 869,800 litres, to 1,329, 180 litres per day. There are 38 milk processing plants in the country, including the newest Pearl Dairy Farm located in Mbarara. Rwamirama says there are four other milk processing factories that are set to open up in the country with a total milk processing capacity of 855,000 litres.
Uganda’s dairy production is largely dominated by small-scale farmers, who own over 90% of the national cattle population. These small-scale farmers are In rural areas, where 96% of the poor Ugandan live, about 60% of households keep mostly indigenous cattle, as seen in the ‘cattle corridor’ zone.
Only 20% of Uganda’s milk is processed