Uganda's milk production has reached 1.9 billion litres, rising prospects for more large scale investments in the dairy industry.

The country's Minister for Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries revealed that the growth in the number of heads of cattle was the main cause of milk production.

"Livestock sector is doing better. Milk production has gone up significantly-1.9bn litters of milk. All animals are going up in terms of numbers. There are now 14 million heads of cattle," said Hon Tress Bucyanayandi during the Agriculture and Food Security Forum on the theme, "Unlocking the export potential of Uganda's agriculture sector," chaired by the Economic Policy Research Centre on June 6, 2013 and held at Hotel Africana in Kampala, Uganda.

The consultative meeting, which brought together about 200 stakeholders, was the first of its kind to generate meaningful debate on the future of the agriculture sector in Uganda.

For the last 15-years, Uganda milk production has been increasing by 8-10 per cent per year with reported occurrence of droughts, according to the Dairy Development Authority.

Since 1992, the total milk production in the country had reportedly grown four times from 365 million litres to 1.5 billion litres per year in 2008.

Uganda's per capita consumption of milk (kg/year) has increased over the last ten years from 40 litres per annum in 2001 to 50 litres as of 2009, which is still below the World Health Organization recommended 200 litres per annum.

The cattle population was estimated at 5.4 million in 1996, 5.9 million in 2000 and 6.5 million in 2006. The number of cattle in Uganda has grown to 11.4 million, according to the results of the National Livestock Census in 2008.

What seems evident is that the number of players in the industry has increased but production remains low.

The Minister's revelation about the new milk figures opens up opportunities for potential investment in the dairy industry taking into account of growing global milk demand that has reached 15 million tonnes per year.

But the sector still faces challenges including lack of skills, poor access to support services like production and marketing advice, little or no capital to reinvest with limited access to credit, small herd size and low milk yields.

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