Food & Drink sector in Uganda

Food & Drink sector in Uganda

A good climate, favourable arable land and an abundance of water bodies means that Uganda has the potential to become the bread basket of East and Central Africa.

Market overview

Food and drink is a key sector in Uganda’s economy with agriculture accounting for 21% of the GDP, responsible for about 46% of total export earnings and employing over 65% of the population.

The Ugandan food and drink sector consists of the food sub-sector covering food crops and processed food products and the drink sub-sector covering coffee, tea, cocoa as well as manufactured alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Food sub-sector

  • Food Crops: Uganda has the potential to become the bread basket for the Eastern and central African region given its good climate and abundant arable land. With increasing regional demand, an ever increasing export market is threatening domestic food prices and reserves. Large scale commercial farming to boost production, irrigation to counter climate change factors and warehousing for long term storage are being promoted to boost the sector. In addition, government’s increased emphasis on food security is opening up a number of significant opportunities.

  • Processed Food Products: Uganda’s main industries are agro-based. The main processed foods include meat (154MT), fish (41MT), Edible oils and fats (262MT), dairy production (327MT), grain milling (359MT), bakery production (359MT), sugar processing (170MT), animal feed (110MT) and fruit processing. Both government and private sector efforts in processed foods have been directed towards value addition and quality improvement.

Drink sub-sector

  • Coffee, Cocoa and Tea: Coffee is Uganda’s main export. Year-on-year cumulative coffee exports for the (April 01, 2011 to March 31, 2012) totalled 3.16 m bags worth $474 million comprising of Robusta (2.41 million bags) and Arabica ( 0.75 million bags). Uganda is Africa’s third biggest tea producer after Kenya and Malawi with tea production increasing by 9.1% in 2011 to 60million kilograms. Whilst cocoa has not been a major crop in Uganda, the government is actively supporting the growth of cocoa with current yields currently at over 10,000 tonnes annually and earning $25million.

  • Non-alcoholic drinks: These include carbonated soft drinks, fruit juices and bottled water. The biggest soft drink producers are franchises of big international companies coca-cola and Pepsi cola. Coca-cola has its biggest bottling plant in Africa located in Kampala; Pepsi-cola too has a large plant in Kampala. Through their operations in Uganda, soft drink and bottled water manufacturers are supplying Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Eastern Congo. In 2010, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation committed $1.4bn to strengthen the agricultural value chain in Africa. By 2010, the fruit juice industry in Uganda had grown 300% since 2005. With the influx of supermarkets in Uganda, bottled drinks are becoming increasingly popular with positive forecasts.

  • Alcoholic drinks: These comprise beer producing companies and spirits producing companies. Uganda is one of the five biggest beer consumers in Africa with per capita consumption of 8 litres per individual per annum. The country has three main beer producers. Spirits account for 63% of alcohol consumption in Uganda – mainly domestically produced. Consumers of manufactured wines and spirits in Uganda are mainly the upper middle class – which has been steadily growing. Manufactured wines and spirits account for 3% of the alcohol consumption in the country.

Key opportunities

  • Value addition in processing of coffee beans, tea and cocoa

  • Large scale commercial farming, mechanisation and production of foods

  • Processing of fruit pulp and juices

  • Production of high quality packaging materials for the food and drink industry

  • Construction of warehousing and irrigation systems

Latest export opportunities Food & Drink

Latest export opportunities in Uganda


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.

  • Racheal Tukamunbona, British High Commission, Kampala Uganda Tel: +256 (0)312 213 or email: [email protected]

  • Eric Olanya, British High Commission, Kampala Uganda . Tel: +256 (0)312 213 or email: [email protected]

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events in the Food & Drink sector

Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Sectors: Food & Drink
Countries: Uganda
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