President Yoweri Museveni spotlighted key areas that stakeholders in the dairy sector can optimise to cash in heavily from their efforts.
"I, therefore, encourage all stakeholders in the Dairy value chain to tap into the existing business opportunities, in milk production, collection, transportation, small-scale and large-scale processing and marketing. Uganda is now a net exporter of dairy products to the region and beyond," said President Museveni during the 16th African Dairy Conference in a speech read by Justine Lumumba Kasule, the minister of General Duties.
"The Export Dairy products portfolio includes UHT, butter oil, ghee, cheese, whole milk powder, skimmed milk powder and casein, whole milk powder, etc."
At the three-day Conference, which is being hosted at Hotel Africana in Kampala under the theme 'African Dairy: More than Just Milk', President Museveni noted that Uganda's annual milk production stands at 3.85 billion liters and the milk production is expected to grow over the next 10 years.
"I urge all the interested milk buyers to visit the countryside and appreciate state-of-the-art milk processing plants like Amos Dairies and Pearl Dairy Farm Ltd in Southwestern Uganda," he said. "The country processes 34% of its milk and exports the surplus to other countries. I encourage investors to take advantage of this gap of the 64% of raw milk, which is sold to consumers unprocessed."
Frank Tumwebaze, the minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, noted that the conference hosted representatives from over 20 countries across the globe, and all continents were represented.
Via Twitter, Minister Tumwebaze said: "I challenged dairy experts to discuss and agree on how to advise & motivate diary farmers so as to keep producing sustainably & profitably for the market in the face of many challenges including climate change. I thank all the members of the Global Dairy Federation for accepting Uganda to host this important meeting."
Speaking at the conference, junior agriculture minister Lt. Col. (rtd) Bright Rwamirama noted that the government has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the dairy industry. "Substantial investments have been channeled into creating the requisite infrastructure, fostering cutting-edge research, nurturing human capacity, and spearheading trade promotion initiatives, among many other crucial endeavors," he said.
"These investments stand as the cornerstones of our collective vision for the robust growth of the dairy sector. While we have achieved remarkable progress, we are aware that significant barriers still exist, impeding the full realization of our dairy industry's potential, not only in Uganda but throughout Africa."
According to the minister, the Africa Dairy Conference and Exhibition serves as an invaluable platform for sharing innovative solutions and ideas aimed at dismantling these bottlenecks.
"Together, we must harness our collective wisdom and resolve to overcome these challenges that lie before us," he said. "It is imperative to emphasize that the Government of Uganda remains steadfastly committed to fostering collaboration with all stakeholders, particularly investors eager to partake in the dairy sector's journey to success. We recognize the pivotal role that private sector participation plays in propelling our industry forward, and we extend our hand in partnership and cooperation."