THE poultry sector in Uganda is at its infancy but has a big potential for large scale productivity. The agricultural zoning policy has underscored the need to invest in untapped poultry enterprises like ostrich farming.
The policy seeks to target industrial production of poultry products for the local and international markets.
The districts of Moroto, northern Kotido and eastern Kitgum have been selected by the policy to spearhead ostrich farming because they are:
Generally flat with isolated hills
Abundant and sparsely populated
Shifting cultivation is practised
Moderate to poor soil fertility
Relay on subsistence farming and pastoral activities
Scarcity of natural open water bodies
According to the National Livestock Resources Research Institute, Uganda has about 27 million domestic birds. Majority are free-range local chicken and exotic chicken breeds, ducks and turkeys. Guinea fowls are gaining prominence.
A dressed chicken costs between sh8,000 and sh10,000, while a tray of eggs costs about sh7,500.
The situation has been aggravated by the shortfall in beef supply. This has been caused by low cattle population, making poultry farming an ideal investment venture.
However, poultry development infrastructure is still weak. Local chicken breeds are at a risk of catching Newcastle fever.
However, a new vaccine the Thermal Stable Vaccine has been developed, awaiting commercial production. Unlike other vaccines which require refrigeration, the new one is carried in powder form and requires no refrigeration.
Several private companies like Biyinzika Enterprises and Ugachick Poultry Breeders, are helping to sustain the sector by providing chicks for rearing and feeds.
Biyinzika owns two large farms. Kigunga farm, which is the companyâ€™s main hatchery, has a production capacity of 700,000 chicks per week.
The Ugachick farm has a stock of approximately 85,000 layers and broilers. These are housed in 26 houses and supply the hatchery with more than 26,000 eggs daily.
The supply of poultry feed is low making its production a worthwhile undertaking.
Compiled by Kikonyogo Ngatya
Zoning policy aims to boost poultry farming