PearL Dairy Farm Ltd. (PDFL) will start selling Lato Milk-branded products beyond East Africa after expanding to Malawi and Ethiopia. The expansion will also see the company export to South Sudan.
According to a statement seen by this website, the company currently exports to eight African countries and Algeria is the next country of expansion.
According to the company's general manager Bijoy Varghese, the expansion will see Lato Milk give more value to the farmers involved in the milk production sector.
“With the opening up of new markets, farmers in Uganda have been provided with a bigger outlet for their milk and this creates more opportunities for them," he said.
"This expansion presents a great boost to the entire dairy value chain in Uganda considering the current situation in the sector. Pearl Dairy is also in a position to supply its world-class quality products to these markets.”
Pearl Dairy has already secured all the necessary regulatory approvals from the targeted countries. In the initial phase, the company will export yogurt and milk powder.
This was decided after the company carried out conclusive market research that indicated these products will do well in the targeted markets.
“We have fully adhered to the norms and government compliances as stipulated in these markets and we confidently believe we have achieved all the requirements for us to launch in these countries,” said the general manager
From its Mbarara factory in western Uganda, Pearl manufactures yogurt, full cream powdered milk, skimmed powdered milk, instant full cream powdered milk, UHT milk, ghee, and butter oil. The plant has a daily capacity to process 800,000 liters of milk.
The company's expansion is quite timely, considering the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is now in high gear.
More than half of the African Union member states have subsequently ratified the agreement which is aimed at boosting intra-African trade by 52.3%, eliminating import duties, and double trade if non-tariff barriers are also reduced.
According to the World Bank, the AfCFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through the exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access, and better reallocation of resources.
Milk production in Uganda continues to increase and Pearl Dairy the largest dairy exporter is at the forefront of finding new markets for Ugandan milk across Africa and beyond.
Varghese said the company was already in the process of looking out for other new markets for Uganda’s surplus milk.
“This was an expansion that PDFL had been planning. We are expediting the process so that the local farmers can benefit from this opportunity. With a strong backward integration program, based out of Mbarara, we are aligning with more and more farmers to fulfill the current and future demand," Varghese said.
"These opportunities will lead to the creation of jobs and better the livelihoods of the local farmers due to increased demand in exports.”
Pearl in 2019 sold a 34% stake to impact investment firm Rise Fund, leaving the other shareholders Bhasker Kotecha and Anand Kapoor families with 33% each.