Questions regarding Uganda’s dairy industry’s standards and long-term viability are resurfacing as Zambia offers a new export market for Ugandan dairy goods. According to Uganda’s Dairy Development Authority, Coca-Cola Zambia has been granted permission to import 700 metric tons of powdered milk per year.
Following an examination of the request received earlier this year, Zambia’s Ministries of Fisheries and Livestock enabled Coca-Cola to seek for an import permission from the department of fisheries and livestock marketing on Wednesday. According to the ministry, the outcome of the first consignment’s standards assessment will determine whether the company continues to import milk.
“Once the consignment arrives in Zambia, Coca-Cola Zambia will be required to submit a sample of powdered milk to the Central Veterinary Research Institute (CVRI) in the Department of Veterinary Services for microbiology analysis, pesticide residues, veterinary drug residues, and any other test… to ensure that the products comply with national laws and standards,” according to a statement from Minis.
Zambia’s move is a significant victory for Uganda’s dairy industry, which has struggled to find a market in the troubled East African Community region. According to DDA Executive Director Michael Kansiime, this is another proof that the world trusts Uganda’s products, which are now in high demand across the region.
“We have had no incidents stemming from the quality of our milk in the last 21 years,” he says, adding that the milk is sold in a variety of markets, including the United States, Japan, and India. Despite the fact that Uganda’s value chain is still in a primitive state, this has happened.
“The milk isn’t supposed to come into contact with the outside world. A machine extracts it from the cow and transports it through tubes to the processing system, where it is packed. But here, we get the milk into a bucket, then into a can for transfer to a collecting station or chilling plant, and finally to trucks,” he explains, adding that the product has shown to be safe so far.
According to Kansiime, 700 tons per year is an excellent starting point for entering the southern African market, and the opportunity should not be squandered.
Uganda has attempted to dominate the regional milk market, but the process has been bumpy.
Kenya banned Lato Milk products early last year, including 262,632 litres of milk worth USD 157,106 (about 575 million Shillings) and 54,310 kilogrammes of powdered milk for USD 203,630. (about 743 million Shillings).
The milk had usual issues, according to authorities, but no more explanations were given. Similar incidents were reported in February of this year, just before Kenya levied a 7% levy on Ugandan milk, prompting Kampala to file a complaint with the EAC Secretariat. As a result of these episodes, Uganda began looking for new markets.
According to Kansiime, if the Zambian market is sustained, it will help to save the Ugandan dairy industry and increase farmer earnings.
Uganda produces around 2.5 billion litres of water every year. According to Kansiime, Uganda has roughly 135 licensed milk processors, three of which produce powdered milk.
Amos Dairies, Brookside Dairy, and Pearl Diary, he claims, have the capacity to support the Zambian market and any other market. Uganda makes roughly USD 130 million a year from milk and milk products exports.