Ugandan milk processor Pearl Dairy expands market share into Ethiopia, S. Sudan, Malawi

UGANDA – Pearl Dairy Farm Limited (PDFL), the largest dairy processor in Uganda, marketing its products under its flagship brand LATO, has expanded its footprint to Ethiopia, Malawi and South Sudan.

From its Mbarara factory in western Uganda, PDFL manufactures yoghurt, full cream powdered milk, skimmed powdered milk, instant full cream powdered milk, UHT milk, ghee and butter oil.

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The plant has a daily capacity to process 800,000 litres of milk.

In the initial phase, PDFL will export yoghurt 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, reports New Vision.

According to Bijoy Varghese, PDFL General Manager, the company has the necessary regulatory approvals from the targeted countries.

“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 Varghese.

With the expansion of these markets, Pearl Dairy products will now be sold in over eight countries and growing.

Algeria is next on the list of potential markets as Government of Uganda works with private sector to find more markets for Ugandan milk.

“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.

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“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,” stated Varghese.

The expansion is underpinned by the ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement which entered into force on May 2019.

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 to 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 exploitation of opportunities for scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources.

Recently, The African Development Bank Group (AfDB), said it provided a US$5 million institutional support grant to the African Union (AU), to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, in Accra, Ghana.

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.

“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.

“These opportunities will lead to the creation of jobs and better the livelihoods of the local farmers due to increased demand in exports,” Varghese said.

Despite PDFL’s focus on entering new markets, the company has been met with hurdles as some of its products were seized and others burred from entering the Kenyan market beginning of the year, on claims that they had been illegally imported in the country without paying taxes.

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