Government has urged the private sector and corporate companies to invest in the country’s livestock sector and exploit the business opportunities available, especially in the dairy and beef Industry.
The call was made by the permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries Pius Wakabi during the Uganda Animal Industry Investment Facilitation Conference at the Speke Resort Munyonyo last week.
The conference was organized by the Ministry in collaboration with Uganda Agribusiness Alliance and other sector players in the livestock industry.
Wakabi said the demand for dairy and beef products both on the local and region markets has gone up but the supply is still low due to low production because they’re very few players in those two subsectors in the livestock Industry.
“We are encouraging the private sector to invest more in the dairy and beef sector because the potential is huge; the country’s earning from dairy and beef sector is promising. However, the challenge at hand, Uganda is exporting raw materials instead of finished products from dairy and beef.
Government is committed to support all those investors interested in adding value to our dairy and beef sector such that we increase on the volumes of exports and earning,” he said.
Another sector that also needs to be invested in by the private sector in the Livestock industry is the sector of Animal feeds production, the permanent secretary told the participants that 80% of the animal feeds on the Uganda markets are being Imported.
He said this exposes the farmers to expensive feeds which increases the cost of farming in the livestock sector. He explained that the feeds produced locally are of poor standard.
“Our Locally produced livestock feeds are being produced by people in the informal sector who are ignorant about animal nutrition that is why the quality of our feeds is of poor-quality and once animals are fed on such feeds then we shall be compromising their health we need quality feeds on the market that is why the private sector should take up such business opportunities,” he explained.
According to the research conducted by Kilimo Trust on Animal Feeds Industry in East Africa, by the year 2020, Uganda’s demand for animal feeds will be 986, 000 metric tonnes.
Currently, the country is facing Animal feeds supply deficit of about 4,201 metric tonnes despite the country being one of the leading producers of raw materials used in processing animal feeds in the region.
According to the report, Kenya is the largest importer of raw materials from Uganda and Tanzania. The report highlights key factors behind the undeveloped animal feeds sector and some of them include insufficient regulatory frameworks to regulate the industry, limited supply of raw materials for the manufacturing of quality and quantity animal feeds demanded on the market.
Responding to the call, participants in the meeting asked the various government institutions to put in place strong legal frame work which support the development of private sector in the livestock industry.
Dr. Brain Kyagulanyi the head of sales at Biyinziki Poultry International said that poultry, like other subsectors in the livestock industry, is experiencing tremendous growth especially when it comes to the demand for poultry products and the business opportunities in the subsector but government needs to create conducive environment for investment.
“Therebis need for government to bring out proper policies that are going to guide the sector right from the importation of Animal feeds ingredients, manufacture of inputs like feeds and breeders alongside Improving Extension services both to the farmers and the poultry dealers,” he said.
On extension services, Kyagulanyi noted that note all poultry farmers are accessing Poultry Extension services being provided by government, he said government should recruit more poultry Extension services provides and train them with the necessary skills such that they can also train farmers on better farm management skills that will enable Uganda to be one of the leading producers of poultry products in the region.
“Inviting Investors to invest in the value addition is not bad but the government need to first address the issues affecting production at the farm level once they are assorted then Investors are willing to invest in all subsector in the Livestock Industry” He said.
Former Agriculture minister Victoria Ssekitoleko advised government to ensure that the private sector is supported to get cheap but quality loans from financial Institutions. She noted that most Investors willing to invest in livestock value addition are being challenged with the high cost for loans in the country.
“Local investors cannot exploit the many business opportunities available in the livestock value chain because of high interest rates charged by commercial bank on the various loans they offer to public,” she said.