The stakeholders, partners, producers and policy makers convened under their 'umbrella body' Nyama platform to discuss matters on how to improve the production, quality and value addition of livestock
Livestock stock stakeholders have joined together to grow the sub-sector, advocate for the appropriate multi-stake holder action along the meat value chain, solve and address meat sector gaps.
The stakeholders, partners, producers and policy makers convened under their 'umbrella body' Nyama platform to discuss matters on how to improve the production, quality and value addition of livestock. The livestock sector which involves meat, piggery and poultry launched their platform recently Silver Spring hotel.
Bright Rwamirama, Minister for Agriculture, Animal industry and Fisheries said livestock dealers and farmers ought to improve on their livestock products and also make use of technology advancement especially when feeding their stock because land is shrinking.
"The population grows every day. There is no longer enough land to graze animals. Livestock dealers should make use of technology to ensure safety and hygiene of the meat and poultry products," Rwamirama said.
According to 2012 Uganda Bureau of Statistics Agricultural report, a total of 3,856,962 (19.9%) crop growing household members owned livestock and of these 57.9 %were males while 42.1% were females.
It further states that the most commonly reared livestock and poultry among majorly crop; indigenous cattle (43%), goats (66%), and chicken (81%) respectively.
Rwamirama said such platforms help discuss generic actions, access and sustain markets demands.
"There is high demand for domestic products than the country can supply to the region," Rwamirama said.
The livestock sector contributes significantly to Uganda's agricultural sector. It contributes 5% to the national gross domestic product (GDP) and 18% to agricultural GDP.
He added that the production, quality standards and value addition of livestock is very important. "This will add value and aid in exporting meat products. This will increase on Uganda's export earnings," Rwamirama added.
However, livestock sector faces a number of challenges such as: low animal productivity, poor infrastructure, poor quality meat, and diseases.
Rwamirama explained that they will create a framework and open up a desk within the ministry of Agriculture to enable easy flow of information and jointly work with the Nyama platform to improve on the livestock dealers activities.
The agricultural sector employs about 70% of the total labour force. In the FY2015/2016, it was allocated shs 479.96 billion.
Rwamirama noted that the sector has a great potential to sustain the economy and drive the country to its vision.
Dr. Joshua Waiswa chairman of Nyama platform and Chief Executive Officer Uganda Meat Producers Co-operative Union Ltd (UMPCU) said there are gaps that exist in the livestock but they need to fill them.
"The gaps require our own effort before government intervenes. As we progress to improve our livestock activities, the sector and government will follow pursuit," he said.
He noted that in Uganda very few farmers quack veterinary practitioners take precaution of drug withdraw periods.
"The joint platform will help inform, create awareness through learning, linking businesses and carrying out awareness campaigns. The farmers will also be educated that before using any animal, they should ensure that there is no drug residual," Waiswa said.
He added that the table platform will iron out weaknesses within the sector and recognize dealers in livestock.
Waiswa further added that this will ensure that the quality of meat starts with us and that it will be bought within a very short period of time.
"If informal trade reduced, consumption, value and export will increase thereby contributing to GDP," he added.
Dr Chris Rutebarika, a retired veteran said the transportation of animals is done wrongly. He said the abattoirs are in miserable states; an act that discourages investors too.
Rutebarika added that even slaughtering animals, the way meat is carried to its destination is done wrongly.
"The moment meat is left in a dirty area, it is contaminated. We do not know the condition of butcher men and butcheries? He asked.
"Do butcher men have certificates; have they been diagnosed or pronounced disease free?" Rutebarika wondered.
He said identifying the state of livestock dealers helps improve on the quality livestock products.
He urged dealers to lobby for a system which will brand livestock owners and identify victims who sell infected meat that is dangerous to human life.