State Minister for Animal Husbandry Bright Rwamirama is mooting for tougher policies on dairy production in order to secure markets for Uganda’s milk in the region.
Rwamirama says that Uganda needs to review the Dairy Industry Act and introduce heavy punishments for persons contaminating milk by either adulteration with water or using dangerous additives disguised as preservatives.
The consideration comes in the wake of a row between Kenya and Uganda arising out the confiscation of consignments of milk under the Lato Brand from Uganda over quality concerns.
Reports indicate that between January 1 and 12, Kenyan authorities have confiscated 54 tons of powdered milk and 140,000 litres of Long Life milk from Pearl Dairies and its distributors, citing nonconformity to standards and smuggling. Uganda has reportedly lost more than USD 360,000 in milk exports due to the seizure.
It is on the basis of this that Rwamirama is calling for safeguards to ensure that Uganda’s milk quality is not compromised at all levels of the supply chain. He told URN in an interview that they are also going to push for reforms in the to introduce stringent action on people distorting the quality of milk.
The current law spells out the cancellation of traders’ certificate, a fine of 500,000 Shillings or a Six-months imprisonment sentence as punishments to persons that are convicted of offences related to breach of provisions of the Dairy Industry Act. Such punishments according to Rwamirama have outlived the test of the time compared to bigger economic consequence such habits have to the industry.
Rwamirama has, on the other hand, tasked the Production and Agricultural Officers in districts located within the cattle corridor that have for a long time struggled with a challenge of highly resistant ticks to develop and guide well-coordinated livestock spraying schedules for all farmers in their areas, as a better way of suppressing the ticks.
Reports at the government Dairy Development Authority-DDA indicate that Uganda’s milk and milk products exports have astronomically been increasing for the last ten years. For instance, the figure rose from USD 5 million in 2008 to USD 130 million in 2017.
However, the business prospects of the sector are threatened by poor handling practices by the different production and supply chains.