Uganda Revenue Authority has said another milk producer has been stopped from exporting milk to Kenya.
In an interview last week, Mr Ian Rumanyika, the URA manager corporate affairs, told Daily Monitor Lakeside Dairies had written to them requesting that it is allowed to return milk it had exported to Kenya after a series of hostilities by Kenyan security and government agencies.
“We received a letter from Lakeside Dairies asking us [URA] to allow them to return their [milk] products because they were being seized by Kenyan authorities. They asked us to allow them to return their products. We compiled,” he said.
Mr Rumanyika was responding to Daily Monitor inquiries in regard to the continued hostility against Ugandan milk in Kenya.
Last week Daily Monitor had been informed that 10, 40-feet trucks containing Dairy Top milk had been quietly returned due to the ongoing milk trade war between Uganda and Kenya.
The milk produced by Lakeside Dairies, the second to suffer the wrath of the trade war, is estimated to be worth $160,000 (Shs592m).
According to a source from Lakeside Dairies, who requested to be anonymous because of the sensitivity of the matter, the company had been exporting 80,000 litres of milk every day to Kenya for the last four years.
“Our UHT milk was returned. We have told them [Kenya authorities] to hand over all the milk that was not cleared,” the source noted, saying much of the company’s milk is exported to Kenya given that UHT has a low consumption rate in Uganda.
The source also told Daily Monitor that they had been forced to switch off the UHT processing machine at its plant in western Uganda and is only operating the yoghurt line.
“The whole value chain has been affected, right from the farmers who supply us with raw material. This is a setback to us,” the source said.
According to information on the company’s website, Lakeside Dairy was incorporated on July 15, 2014 after acquiring the business of Hillside Dairy and Agriculture Limited.
The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dodla Holdings, Singapore with a commendable presence in western and central Uganda.
The company specialises in the production and exportation of UHT and produces yoghurt for the local market.
Similar fate happened to pearl dairies milk exports
About a month ago, Pearl Dairies, which produces Lato Milk, suffered the same fate as its milk exports were seized and later returned to Uganda.
At least 19 trucks carrying powered and UHT milk were returned. The milk truck loads worth more than Shs1.1b, according to URA details, were seized and forced to return to Uganda on varying dates.
Others were diverted with their goods and have remained seized to date.
Earlier, Kenya had announced that it was working on a 16 per cent levy that would be charged on Uganda’s milk.
However, President Uhuru Kenyatta recently quashed the levy, saying it should only apply on milk coming from outside the East Africa Community.
Mr Steven Aikiriza, a dairy expert working with SNV in western Uganda, told Daily Monitor that he had been told of Lakeside Dairies’ fate, noting that diversion of the company’s milk exports had been returned silently.