The registration targets domestic animals including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs among others
The government is proposing to register all domestic animals and issue them with birth certificates, this is in line with the fulfillment of international market requirements for animal products.
“Government will register the owner of the cow, and the village where the farm is located. Every cow will be allocated a serial number, and every calf will be given a certificate at birth," Vincent Ssempijja the agriculture minister said.
Ssempijja said registration targets domestic animals including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs among others.
However, Ssempijja who did not reveal when the registration will start, said the government is proposing this because beef consumers in international markets want to know the age of the cow.
He noted that demand for meat in international markets depends on the age of the cow since consumers prefer meat from cows aged below 24 months.
Ssempijja made the revelation at the opening of the 27th Source of the Nile National Agriculture Show, organised by the Uganda National Farmers Federation in Jinja Municipality.
“Farmers will soon be required to acquire birth certificates for cows as a measure to track their lineage and ensure that their products including beef, ghee and milk meet to meet international market standards," explained Ssempijja.
A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a person. The legal portion of the birth certificate shows the child's name, date of birth, parents' names, sex, date, place of birth of the child, father's name, place of birth and occupation, mother's name, place of birth, maiden name, and occupation among others.
Apart from the traceability of the products, the team also wants to ensure that farmers benefit directly because many of them are cheated by middlemen.
"The government will not cater for those who defy the order when it comes to markets,” Ssempijja said, refuting allegations that the registration exercise is aimed at cheating farmers through imposing a tax on them.
He said it will soon be a requirement for every farmer in Uganda to register and provide the government with details relating to the animals so as to facilitate government’s intervention into the quality of products especially those that target foreign markets.
The new initiative comes a few months after the government introduced the controversial Coffee Bill in Parliament which among other things requires coffee farmers to register and acquire licences from the government.
The Bill whose objective is to improve productivity and standards, proposes the registration of farmers capturing details of the size of land, the number of coffee trees and particulars of the farmers, coffee buyers and sellers among others.
The Bill also proposes that land, where the coffee is to be grown shall be evaluated by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority to determine its suitability for coffee growing.
The Kakuuto MP Christopher Kalemba said “Practically, registration of animals may not succeed in Uganda because the majority of the animal keepers are illiterate. Birth registration works in developed countries."
He said the government should first wipe out the many quack veterinary medicines on the Ugandan markets, before embarking on animal registration.
“There not enough agriculture extension workers to sensitise the animal keepers on such an initiative,” he added.
Kajara County MP Michael Kamugisha Timuzigu supports the move saying that a farmer who practices zero-grazing needs to know the number of animals and the amount of food they feed on.
"It can help the farmer to know the diseases which affect the animal and plans its medical treatment. This will help the farmer to know the profits the animal will fetch after selling," he said.
The Kashari South MP, Nathan Itungo, said: “the government has failed to streamline the issuance of birth certificates to all Ugandans, it may not manage the registration of animals in Uganda. In some cultures animals are not counted, the excise may be resisted.”