By Farooq Kasule
It is good news for the cattle keepers and those involved in the dairy business in Uganda. The newly approved Algerian ambassador to Uganda Mohamed Khelifi has said finalising the Algeria-Uganda milk deal is top on his agenda. The deal will see Uganda fully export its milk to Algeria.
Khelifi made the commitment while presiding over the dinner organised by Ugandan students that have studied in Algeria over the years under their association of Algeria Alumni Association at Sheraton hotel in Kampala on December 17, 2023.
“We are in the final process of the deal and soon Uganda will start exporting its milk to Algeria because we have tested it and it is of high quality as we also look into what Algerian can export to Uganda,” Khelifi said.
The dairy industry in Uganda is a source of day-to-day earnings and food for a considerable proportion of the population in the country.
It is mainly saturated by smallholder farmers predominantly residing in rural areas, with only one-fifth of the milk produced undergoing value addition.
The dairy sector currently brings in the second-highest export earnings after coffee in the agricultural sector and is gradually paving its way to the number one position.
The sector is currently valued at $3.8 billion according to statistics. Production of milk increased from sh2.51b litres to approximately sh3.85b litres between 2018 and 2022, an average annual growth rate of 11%, which is among the highest of any sector in the Ugandan economy.
Khelifi said he is also going to push for increased scholarship to Uganda students as one of the ways of strengthening the bilateral relationship between Algeria and Uganda.
Khelifi praised President Yoweri Museveni as a visionary leader. “I arrived in Kampala about four days ago, I was very privileged and honored to be received by President Museveni. I am very lucky to be in this country. I was pleased to listen to President Museveni and to take note of his valuable advice. President Museveni is a friend of Algeria and he is very respected in my country and in the whole continent and he is a very nice guy,” Khelifi said.
Giving a keynote address at the dinner, Prof. Augustus Nuwagaba, an international economic consultant implored Ugandans to be creative and innovative in order to seize the available opportunities for prosperity.
“The global economy is configured in a way that countries are not equal. It is, therefore, important for people to position themselves to seize the available opportunities,” Nuwagaba said.
Nuwagaba noted that the drivers to growth are education, skills mixed with development and demographic dividend.
Nuwagaba observed that while a number of Ugandans have attained the required academic credentials, what is lacking is what to do with the knowledge that has been acquired by Ugandan graduates who study both abroad and locally.
“In Uganda we have very many graduates but many of them have failed to use the knowledge acquired to create an impact and this is what we should work on,” Nuwagaba said.
He said it is important to have something unique saying it is the one that gives comparative advantage in the global economy.
“Uganda’s economy is growing at a higher rate. As students who studied from Algeria, don’t accept to be average because there are a lot of opportunities up for grabs,” Nuwagaba said.
Nuwagaba praised the Katikkiro of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga for awakening Ugandans on poverty alleviation.
In regard to corruption, Nuwagaba said it is possible to defeat it and this should be through building capabilities.
To the Algerian Alumni Association in Uganda, Nuwagaba implored them to uphold integrity in order to sustain it.
During the dinner, students who have studied in Algeria including musician Wycliffe Tugume known as Ykee Benda, Eng. Muhammed Nsereko, Eng. Isaac Bbosa Sserunkuma, Dr Grace Naikazi, James Ssenyonga, Musa Nasaaga among others said they have since used the knowledge acquired not only to improve on their livelihood but also to inspire others using the expertise acquired.