Why Uganda’s milk production grew by 193% amidst trade barriers

by Christopher Kiiza
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The production of Uganda’s milk increased by 193% from 2.81 billion litres in 2020/21 financial year to 5.4 billion litres in 2021/22 financial year.

In the same period, the export value of milk and milk products, increased from USD 98.8 million in 2021 to USD 103 million in 2022.

While delivering a State of the Nation address on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, President Yoweri Museveni attributed this to the compliance by the private sector to quality standards and regulations.

Despite this growth, Uganda’s diary industry has suffered a number of barriers that have many times hindered the exportation of Uganda’s milk and milk products to the regional market.

In March this year, the Government of Kenya reinstated its 2021 ban of Ugandan milk products, sparking anger from Ugandan farmers and Government officials.

The Kenyan Government said the ban was intended to “cushion the industry from surplus production and low producer prices.”

Consequently, the Kenya Dairy Board suspended the issuance of diary import permits.

The ban, which was never the first to be imposed by Nairobi, would be lifted a few weeks later.

 The ban of Uganda’s milk into Kenya in March was just weeks after Kenyan President William Ruto lifted the ban on Ugandan agricultural products that included; milk, eggs and chicken at the start of February.

It took a meeting between President Museveni and Kenyan Trade Minister, Moses Kuria in Kampala in late January to lift the ban on Uganda’s agricultural products.

The Ugandan products had been banned by Ruto’s predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta’s government in 2021.

Out of 5.4 billion litres of milk produced in 2021/22 financial year of which about 1 billion liters is consumed locally.

The Dairy Development Authority (DDA) indicates that per capita milk consumption in Uganda stands at only 62 litres, which is far below the 200 litres recommended by World Food Programme. 

The above data means that Uganda has billions of liters of milk available for export annually.

ALSO READ: Uganda Milk at the mercy of kenyan politics


The production of beef increased from 228,243 metric tonnes in the financial year 2020/21 to 230,746 metric tonnes in the financial year 2021/22.

In the year 2022, the amount of beef exported was 247,234 kg valued at 2.944 trillion shillings as compared to 1.018 trillion shillings fetched in the year 2021.


The total fish catches from all the water bodies, increased from 621,987 metric tonnes valued at 1.875 trillion shillings in 2021 to 651,7192 metric tonnes valued at 1.968 trillion shillings in 2022.

The availability of raw materials (fish), sustained operations of the 12 fish processing factories.

Museveni said the performance has been a result of government focus on gazetting of fish breeding grounds, enforcement of fisheries laws and regulations, provision of quality fingerlings and fish feed, and providing an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in aquaculture.

The value of fish and fish products exported increased by 27.7% from USD 148.7 million in 2020/21financial year to USD 156.4 million in the 2021/22 financial year.


The volume of exports increased from 6.08 million (60kg) in the FY 2020/21 to 6.3 million (60kg) bags in the FY 2021/22, an increase of 3%.(PHOTO/Courtesy)

The volume of coffee produced increased by 5% from 8.06 million (60kg) bags in FY 2020/21 to 8.45 million (60kg) bags in FY 2021/22.

“This is on account of the Government interventions such as generation and distribution of improved coffee variety seedlings, increased use of water for irrigation and promotion of use of fertilizers,” President Museveni said.

The volume of exports increased from 6.08 million (60kg) in the FY 2020/21 to 6.3 million (60kg) bags in the FY 2021/22, an increase of 3%.

The value realised from coffee exports increased by 58% from US$ 544 million in 2020/21 to US$ 862 million in 2021/22.

President Museveni informed the country that the agriculture sector, as a whole, contributed 24.1% of GDP.

The sector grew by 4.4% in the FY 2021/22 as compared to 4.3% in the FY 2020/21.

The value of agricultural exports registered a growth of 24% from USD 1,678 million in FY 2020/21 to USD 2,085 million in FY 2021/22. 

“This growth was attributed to the increased volumes and quality of coffee, dairy, fish and tea,” Museveni said.

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