Hope for Milk Industry as Museveni, Ministers Head to Algeria

President Yoweri Museveni and his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune are due to witness the signing of several deals in Algiers, where he is on a three-day state visit. The two heads of state will also attend the first-ever business forum between Algeria and Uganda.

Several Ministers including those from the Trade, Agriculture, Energy, Mineral Development, and Education and Sports sectors are part of the delegation. Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry Fisheries says that he hopes the deal to export milk to Algeria will be concluded.

Following his meeting with Algerian Ambassador in Kampala, Cherif Qualid in November last year, President Museveni said the country had shown interest in buying Ugandan milk worth 500 million dollars (1.85 trillion Shillings). “Therefore, the Joint Ministerial Council should make plans to complete the signing of all necessary documents with Algeria, ” he directed.

The Dairy Development Authority says that in addition to milk powder, Uganda will be exporting other dairy products, having completed a technical verification of the dairy value chain regulatory framework by the Algerian team in December 2022.

On whether Uganda has the capacity to supply such quantities, DDA says Uganda now produces 3.2 billion liters of milk annually, with just over three quarters put onto the market. Uganda earned 3.8 trillion Shillings (US$1 billion) from raw milk production in 2021/2022. This was an improvement from the 3.01 trillion in the previous year.

Samson Akankiza, the Acting Managing Director says dairy exports bounced back to 102.6 million dollars last year from US$92.4 million recorded in the year 2020/21. The exports are yet to reach the 2018 US$130 million levels.

“Algeria’s milk production is generally low and most of their milk products are being imported from other countries. Uganda has quality milk which is organically produced meaning we shall have the best product on the market,” Akankiza said.

Uganda imported milk worth US$4.2 million. “The Joint Permanent Commission and business-to-business meetings between the two countries in Algiers will see some deals being signed off,” he said. This would come as a relief to milk producers and exporters who have over the years suffered hiccups and uncertainties in the regional market.

Kenya, the biggest market, intermittently bans or restricts Ugandan dairy products and a week ago, the Dairy Board announced that it was stopping the importation of milk powder ahead of an expected increased production in the country. For three years, Uganda’s exports to Rwanda have been almost nil, since the border closure in February 2019, having fetched 52 billion Shillings (US$14 million dollars), a year before.

The hope for a stable market has been in the pacification of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

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