The facility also has enough drinking and feeding troughs, a storage for feeds (hay) and piped water
Farmers in western Uganda have high hopes of reaping big from Biharwe Livestock Resource Centre that was commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni on Friday at State House Entebbe via video conferencing.
The construction of the resource centre that falls under the Uganda Meat Producers Cooperative Union Livestock Resource Centre, was funded by the European Union. Stakeholders in the facility that sits on a four-acre piece of land at Kyarujungu in Biharwe, Mbarara district, say it will increase the production of meat, boost farmers' income and create jobs, especially for the youth within Mbarara.
They hailed the President and the European Union for supporting them in the construction and commissioning of the facility.
During the launch, President Museveni said Uganda is unstoppable in terms of agricultural and agro-based industrial production development, as long as the country has patriots in charge of the sector.
"In Uganda, we rear 14 million head of cattle, 14 million goats, 50 million chicken, one million sheep and catch 447,000 tonnes of fish from our lakes. If we have competent and patriotic people in this sector, Uganda's agriculture modernisation is unstoppable," he said.
The President referred to livestock as a source of food (milk and meat) and raw materials for clothing and other industrial products.
"One of the main raw materials is leather that is used to make shoes, belts, handbags, jackets, car seats, etc. These, together, take $328.944m out of Uganda," he said, according to a release from State House. Dem And for products The global demand for leather and its products, the President said, is $72.36b, adding that there are yet other fibres that are wholly dedicated to clothing, such as cotton which we are now producing at 185,000 bales per annum.
He said whereas Government had a developed milk industry, Uganda is stuck with a lot of unsold milk and spends huge sums of money on imports.
"Milk products worth $4.565m are still being imported including cheese, butter, ice-cream, yoghurt, sour milk and cream," he said.
On the issue of pasture for their livestock, Museveni asked them to shift from free range to zero-grazing.
"One acre of grass can feed eight cows a year. So, I am happy to be associated with this effort. Uganda has got a lot of wealth but people are not utilising it. I congratulate you on waking up," he said.
Julius Okello, the treasurer of Uganda Meat Producers Co-operative Union Livestock Resource Centre, pledged to help farmers learn good farming practices.
"The centre has a boardroom for training farmers. We intend to select and mentor 10 farmers per village who will carry on the message to others in that village," Okello said.
Abel Nabimanya Gwera, the chairperson of the Meat Producers Co-operative Society, says in addition to livestock, the facility has an animal clinic, offices and boardroom.
The facility also has enough drinking and feeding troughs, a storage for feeds (hay) and piped water.
"This is an opportunity for us because the facility will benefit many farmers who will be involved in the growing of pasture feeds for the livestock.
Livestock needs enough feeds which cannot be grown and produced by one farmer," Gwera added.
He further mentioned that farmers will also learn better methods of farming and treatment of their animals from the veterinary doctors stationed at the facility.
Transport costs down
David Muhumuza, the chairperson of Kyarijungu Meat Producers Co-operative Union who also deals in livestock business, believes that the facility will bring down the cost of transport traders having been incurring. They hitherto have been selling their animal to the abattoirs in Kampala.
Ezra Kagimbi Begumisa, the chairperson of Kabucebebe United Farmers Co-operative Society in Biharwe, challenged the Government to put in place a policy against the slaughter of pregnant animals.
"If the Government does not put in place to protect the slaughtering of pregnant livestock, the country will lose the breed. I, therefore, appeal to the community to stop selling pregnant animals to traders taking them for slaughter," Begumisa said.