Pearl Dairy Farms Limited a Ugandan milk processing plant behind Lato milk brand has laid off over 1500 workers almost a year after the company stopped exporting milk and milk produce to Kenya.
According to a publication by the Ugandan Observer, the firm stopped full-scale production at the height of a milk war with Kenya at the beginning of 2020.
According to the Observer, Kenyan authorities were confiscating imported Ugandan milk at that time and turning away trucks on grounds that the milk had been smuggled into the country without paying taxes, thereby depressing local prices.
The DCI had laid trap and impounded tracks ferrying the Lato milk alongside other products
Smuggled Milk and milk products seized early last year by the DCI Detectives and which upon testing by various specialized bodies were found to be unfit for human consumption. They were later destroyed following a court order to the Ministry of Health.
Over 77,772L of fresh milk, 2,760L of yogurt and 772L of Ghee impounded from both Musty Distribution Kenya Ltd branded Lato Dairies and Dodla Dairy Kenya Ltd branded Top Dairies were destroyed under the supervision of multi-agency teams spearheaded by the DCI.
The move was following a surge in volumes of imported milk from Uganda amidst complaints that the country had no capacity to export such huge quantities to Kenya. Pearl Diaries exported most of its processed milk to Kenya.
From here these the company had to scale Dow it’s operations as the directive saw its market shrink by 25 percent.
The outbreak of Covid-19 saw the situation go from bad to worse and the comapy had to take a raft of measures among them laying off its workers a move that saw over 1500 workers send home.
This meant that Pearl Dairy which was buying over 400, 000 litres of milk per day from Ugandan farmers had nowhere to take the milk.
Ezra Agaba, one of the affected employees says he was asked to stay home for a month and has not been recalled despite completing a month away from the job.
Moses Kijoma, a milk lab attendant says he has since faced numerous domestic challenges as a result of not earning
Uganda produces over 2.6 billion litres of milk per annum but only consumes 800 litres.
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