Uganda must invest in technology and research to add value to dairy products in order to tap into growing regional demand, according to an official from Uganda Export Promotions Board.
Speaking in an interview last week Mr Moses Mabala a trade officer at the UEPB said: “There is increasing demand for Uganda’s dairy products within East Africa. With increased production of quality products, we shall be able to exploit these markets”.
Keys markets, according to Mr Mabala include Kenya, Sudan (North & South), DR Congo, Tanzania and Zambia.
According to data from UEPB, Uganda exports about 73 per cent of its milk and cream products to Kenya.
For instance, in 2013 the country exported $8.9m (Shs25.8b) worth of milk products to Kenya.
However, Tanzania, South Sudan and Sudan have been identified as the fastest growing markets for Uganda’s dairy products. Uganda produces milk and cream [non-concentrated), buttermilk and yogurt, butter, fats and oils, cheese and curd.
Uganda’s total dairy products exports grew to $11.8m (Shs34b) in 2013 with 89 per cent exported to Kenya, 4.6 per cent to DR Congo, 3.2 per cent to Zambia and 2.3 per cent exported to the Sudans (north and south].
Key milk exports
Milk and cream. Milk and cream [none concentrated] exports fetched $37,000 (Shs1.0b) in 2001 compared to imports of the same product which stood at $49,000 (Shs1.4b). However in 2013, imports stood at $1.8m (Shs5.2b) compared to exports of $12.2m (Shs35.3b) reflecting a trade balance of $10m (Shs29b).
Buttermilk and yoghurt. Imports of buttermilk and yoghurt stood at $17,000 (Shs49m) compared to exports of just 1,000 (Shs2.9m) in 2001. However, in 2013 exports of the same product surpassed imports growing to $470,000 (Shs1.3b).
Butter, fats and oils products. Uganda contributes 0.01 per cent to global butter, fats and oils products that are derived from milk. This, according to 2013 data from UEPB fetches $833,000 (Shs2.1b) in exchange revenue.
Cheese and curd. Ironically, Uganda imports more cheese than it exports. In 2013 the country exported $52,000 (about Shs151m) worth of cheese and curd. However, in the same year cheese and curd worth $287,000 (about Shs833m.