Jesa capacity expansion nears completion

JESA management inspect the progress of the new factory which is expected to increase capacity to meet growing market demand.  PHOTO | Rachel Nabisubi 

What you need to know:

  • In the last 10 years, the value of milk and milk products exported from Uganda has increased astronomically from $5m in 2008 to $130m in 2017 to $131.5m in 2019/20. 

As the planned expansion of Jesa Farm Dairy nears completion, the company has assured the market that it is doing everything possible to limit the disruption to production, which, according to experts, is normal when executing such large-scale capacity expansion projects. 

When completed, the project is expected to increase production capacity across the company’s range of products, cementing the dairy processor's position as a leading player in the Ugandan dairy industry.

The assurances come in the wake of concerns over the supply of milk following the delay of the rainy season and a sharp spike in consumption occasioned by the opening of the economy after a prolonged period of lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2019. 

Usually, there is a level of disruption because we must move equipment and machines, install and commission new ones, and this process may take several weeks. However, the increased capacity more than compensates for the short interruption, "explained Tunga Musorowegomo, Project Manager in-charge of the expansion.

With the onset of rain and normalisation of milk supply, Jesa Dairy Plant manager Dennis Sibanda also sought to explain the absence of yoghurts and flavoured milk, which have been most impacted by the expansion work disruptions, and assured the public that these products will be back on the market in a few weeks when the new plant commences production.

Over the years, we have seen a constant rise in consumption and, consequently, demand for these products, and as such, we know there will be pressure in the market if consumers fail to get their favourite products on the shelf. However, it’s important to let our consumers know that the expansion that is happening will ensure that the market is sufficiently stocked with quality products. " 

According to the Dairy Development Authority (DDA)'s latest report, Uganda produces 2.81 billion litres of raw milk against a national consumption demand of 800 million liters. This has attracted both foreign and domestic investment in milk processing, and the country now has 130 licenced large-scale, medium-scale, and cottage milk processors, processing only 30% of raw milk produced.

The dairy products being produced include UHT milk, butter oil, ghee, cheese, pasteurised liquid milk, milk powder, flavoured milk, milkshakes, casein, yoghurts, and ice cream consumed locally and for export. 

In the last 10 years, the value of milk and milk products exported from Uganda has increased astronomically from $5m in 2008 to $130m in 2017 to $131.5m in 2019/20. 

Uganda is poised to become a large dairy exporter in Africa and the sector is slowly edging its way into Uganda’s top exports, next to coffee and tea.