Hon Evelyn Anite, the State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization has assured farmers and dairy producers in Ankole region of more alternative markets for their products.
Anite, while launching Pearl Dairy’s new yoghurt products at the factory premises in Mbarara, revealed that government is in talks with countries such as Japan and Congo among others to widen the market base.
She encouraged farmers to remain optimistic for better prices that government is fixing for them.
“Government is working to increase on the prices of milk so that farmers get to enjoy the fruits of their hard work,” she said.
She also urged Ugandans to appreciate their own and start consuming dairy products made locally from Uganda, and by doing so, the local farmers will be supported.
“Yoghurt is very healthy for children and adults. It has the good bacteria that keep our bodies strong and resistant to diseases. I have tested the new flavours and can testify they are very sweet and of high international quality. I urge Ugandans to buy these products, let us support our own local producers,” she said.
The Minister further applauded the Processor for creating over 10,000 jobs for Ugandans and putting Uganda on the world map through exporting high quality products. She promised, through government, to continue supporting the investor through access to affordable credit, providing reliable and affordable electricity and access to local and regional market.
“I have been informed by the owners of Pearl Dairy that they want affordable credit for expansion, reliable electrify and access to market. Some of our regional market especially Kenya got issues last year but we are working hard to resolve those issues.
I have also asked them to put in a request to Uganda Development Bank for the credit they need. We will also continue to provide reliable electricity at affordable rates like we have been doing for all our investors,” she noted.
The Pearl Diary Chairman, Bhasker Kotecha in his remarks said the company started producing yoghurt six months back but because there was no market, they started with only two flavours of Vanilla and strawberry and are now adding more five flavours to give their consumers more choices.
Kotecha further added that due to limited access to the Kenyan Market towards the end of 2019, and the Covid -19 Pandemic that broke out in Uganda in March, the company has largely slashed the amount of milk it buys from farmers which has largely affected farmers who have a lot of milk but don’t have market for it.
“In 2019, Pearl Diary paid Shs 136b to farmers, this year, we have only paid Shs 32b as of September. This largely affects the farmers who have a lot of milk but have nowhere to sell it. As we also look to expand our markets to other countries, we ask government to work on the market access issues within the EAC region because that is where our biggest market is,” he said.