Kenya now takes 80% of Uganda’s milk exports

Uganda has substantially reduced its milk and related products imports to just Shs28.6b.  Photo / File 

What you need to know:

  • Uganda now exports dairy and milk products worth Shs976.3b, which is higher than the Shs28.6b the country imports

Kenya took more than two-thirds of Uganda’s dairy and related exports for the period ended June 2023, according to a report by Dairy Development Authority (DDA). 

In details contained in the 2022/23 Annual Report, DDA indicated that Uganda exported dairy and related products worth Shs976.3b, of which Shs810.5b or 83 percent went to Kenya. 

Uganda mainly exported butter, cheese, ghee, UHT, yoghurt and milk powder to one of its biggest trade partners and East Africa’s largest economy. 

Uganda’s dairy and milk exports have previously suffered due to various blockades with Kenya saying it needed to protect its local dairy market. 

It was not immediately clear whether Kenya had lifted some of the blockades it had placed on milk exports from Uganda.

Uganda exported dairy products across the globe, with milk powder, which accounted for 54.2 percent or Shs529b of total dairy products, being the most exported product.  

UHT and Casein followed with products worth Shs323b and Shs60.8b, exported respectively, during the period. 

Other major export destinations included the US, which took up casein worth Shs57.6b and Egypt, which imported butter and ghee worth Shs34.9b from Uganda.  

Uganda has been searching for new export markets, with the country’s dairy products gaining access to new markets such as Algeria and Senegal. 

This had come amid increasing blockades from the likes of Kenya and Rwanda, which for long periods banned entry of dairy products from entering their markets. 

DDA noted that Uganda will largely benefit from the Algerian market quota worth $500m and will provide a long-term solution to the country’s increased production output.

South Sudan and Tanzania, which took export products worth Shs26.4b and Shs13b, respectively closed off Uganda’s top five dairy export destinations. 

On the other hand, Uganda imported daily products worth Shs28.6b, of which Shs11.5b or 40.3 percent was from Kenya.

Uganda mainly imports milk powder, UHT, butter, cheese, infant formula, yoghurt and ice cream. 

Other import sources included France, Poland, Mexico and South Africa from which a combined sum of Shs13.1b worth of dairy products was imported. 

Uganda at least imported several dairy products from 41 countries during the period. 

During the period, the report indicates, the dairy sector saw milk production increase by 37 percent from 2.81 billion litres in the 2020/21 financial year to 3.85b litres, despite a reported drought in selected areas. 

DDA data indicates that the export value of milk and milk products increased from $102.6m to $264.5m due to an improvement in the quality of cattle which has seen the national average milk productivity increase to 4.96 litres per cow. 

The central region leads in average milk productivity per cow, producing at least 6.6 litres, while the Karamoja sub-region has the lowest at 2.9 litres. 

Western region contributes the highest share of milk production at 32.5 percent, followed by central, which contributes 30.4 percent.