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June 12, 2007

Challenges facing Uganda's beef industry

The poor handling of beef and low animal stocks are still a big challenge to Uganda's beef exports, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, has said.

Hilary Onek said some beef dealers were still slaughtering animals under trees and skinning them on the ground. "Poor hygiene of our meat is really a challenge that requires immediate attention," he said. He said Uganda's quantity and quality of beef are too low to meet the demands of both the domestic and export markets.

Onek was addressing participants at a workshop in Entebbe on June 5 to discuss the findings of a feasibility study on developing an export oriented meat industry in Uganda. The one-year research was funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Corporation and was conducted by Nortura, a Norwegian meat company. The study covered animal husbandry and animal trading system, animal health and meat hygiene conditions for export, abattoir, meat packaging and processing environmental and social impact.

Uganda currently has a stock of 7.3 million cattle, compared to Tanzania, which has over 33 million and Kenya's 40 million. Meat production in Uganda stands at 142,000 metric tonnes, with beef contributing 107,000, goat meat (28,000 metric tonnes) and sheep (5,000).

The national per capita consumption of meat in Uganda is only 6 kgs, which is below the 50 kilogrammes recommended by FAO. Uganda Beef Producers' Association (UBPA) Chairman Sam Kizito said they had embarked on opening up UBPA district enterprises to sensitise livestock farmers to adopt better methods of rearing animals and handling meat.

The Monitor

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