Milk market recovery excites Ankole farmers

Kenyan authorities raid distributors of Ugandan milk

Mbarara, Uganda | URN | Dairy farmers in Ankole region are excited about the recovery of the milk market.

Market for milk and its products at the beginning of this year was adversely affected by imbalances on the regional market and restrictions imposed shortly after the outbreak of COVID-19.

Imbalances came in after Kenya blocked Uganda milk and its products by Pearl Dairy Farm Limited from accessing the regional market.

Because of this, Pearl Dairy the leading buyer of milk in Ankole region was affected and suspended milk processing.

This affected the dairy business as most farmers complained of lack market for their milk. This affected the prices too, falling to 200 shillings a litre down from 1200 shillings.

Seth Devendra, Managing Director said because of restrictions and imbalances in the market, they have only managed 32 million liters in the last nine months of this year compared to 142 million liters of milk that were bought in the year 2019.

While launching two new products at the factory premises located in Mbarara at Biharwe, Devendra told State Minister for Investment Evelyn Anite that despite all the milk market imbalances and restrictions imposed, milk is gaining its market.

Pearl Diary has introduced coconut and apricot yoghurt and Lato butter oil on the market.

He said these restrictions had affected the prices of milk but have since also improved from as low as 200 shillings to between 700 and 1200 shillings a liter.

Devendra said that with the new products, milk which is a raw material will gain more market and prices will stabilize as the domestic market has managed to consume 20% of their milk products.

He said with the stability of the market, they expect to increase on the number of liters in the next six months.

Emmanuel Kishe, a farmer in Kiruhura district says the market for milk is rapidly increasing unlike the previous months.

He said that currently the buyers have set the price at between 700 and 850 shillings per liter.

He however castigates the buyers who reduce prices but keep taking the same volumes of milk with ‘fake’ excuses.

Robert Kabatereine, chairperson of Farmers Voice Network says the market situation has normalized and the price is a bit fair.

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Kabatereine says since the restrictions were lifted, domestic consumption of hotels and restaurants that had lost customers due to the ban on human movement have also resumed enhancing the balance of local and regional markets.

Hon. Evelyn Anite, State Minister for Investment said government has committed to solving the issue of market after it has signed bilateral agreements and implementation of these agreements will help Uganda milk and milk products access regional market.