The government is negotiating with the Algerian government to create an alternative market for Ugandan milk, David Bahati, the Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (Industry) has told parliament.
Bahati made this revelation while responding to a matter of national importance raised by Wilson Twinomugisha Kajwenjye (NRM, Nyabusozi County) during the plenary sitting on Wednesday, 24 May 2023.
During the plenary which was chaired by deputy speaker of parliament Thomas Tayebwa, Bahati noted that the Kenyan government has reduced issuing export permits to Uganda’s powdered milk.
“We are now in the advanced stages of engaging Algeria. We are about to sign an agreement where Algeria is going to take quite a sizeable amount of litres of milk, and by finding alternative markets, taking advantage of the African Continental Free Trade area, then we will resolve this,” Bahati said.
Bahati added that President Yoweri Museveni and his Kenya counterpart William Ruto of Kenya will hold talks to resolve the impasse.
“At the operational level, we have arranged a Council of Ministers to discuss this matter of milk and other products and bring it to the Heads of State summit,” Bahati said.
He added that as a government they want to find a lasting solution on how they can protect the community because as Uganda, we have been committed to all the protocols we have signed and they expect that other sister countries should do the same.
Hon. Wilson Twinomugisha Kajwenjye (NRM, Nyabusozi County) said that the decision by Kenya to reduce issuing export permits to Uganda’s powdered milk has affected milk prices.
“Farm gate price is now at Shs400 a litre in the cattle corridors. Farmers buy manufactured injectables and vaccines from Kenya and now they cannot service loans they got when milk was Shs1, 000 a litre. It is going to be a loss of government revenue and jobs,” he said.
He called on the East African Community (EAC) states to uphold the implementation of the EAC trade protocols.
“The milk for school project should be fast-tracked and implemented because it will increase domestic consumption, stabilise prices and increase nutrition level,” he added.
It should be noted that on 23rd March this year, the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development suspended the ban on the importation of dairy products, which it had imposed earlier this month.
This came after the election of Ruto as president was seen by many as a blessing to Uganda in this regard.