President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said that 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 heads of cattle, 14 million goats, 50 million chicken, 1 million sheep and catch 447,000 tonnes of fish from our lakes etc, so if we have competent and patriotic people in this sector, Uganda’s agriculture modernization is unstoppable,” he said.
The President made these remarks at State House Entebbe via video conferencing while officiating at the virtual launch of Biharwe Livestock Resource Center, in Mbarara district.
Speaking shortly after the launch President Museveni said that livestock is a source of food (milk, meat, etc.) and also a source of raw-materials for clothing and other industrial products.
“One of the main raw-materials is leather for making shoes, belts, hand-bags, jackets, car seats, etc. These, together, take US$328.944million out of Uganda,” he said.
The global demand for leather and leather products, the President said is US$72.36billion, adding that there are yet the fibers that are wholly dedicated to clothing the human being like cotton which we are now producing at185,000 bales per annum.
Mr. Museveni said that out of cattle, we get milk, beef, skins and horns all of which are very valuable raw-materials including liquid milk, powdered milk for long distance transport, butter, ghee, yoghurt, cheese, caissene and lactogens.
“Uganda is suffering with a lot of unsold milk on account of the work we did to build the milk industry. However, milk products to the tune of US$4.565million are still being imported and they are cheese, butter, ice-cream, yoghurt, sour-milk, cream, etc,” he said.
President Museveni said that medicine and veterinary drugs for our livestock and drugs for our crops are a human need and asked the ministry of veterinary and the farmers to be serious and consider vaccination.
On the issue of pasture for their livestock, President Museveni who congratulated farmers under their union, “The Uganda meat producers cooperative union”, asked them to shift from free range to zero-grazing.
“One acre of grass can feed 8 cows per year. So am happy to be associated with this effort. Uganda has got a lot of wealth but people are not utilizing it. I congratulate you for waking up,” he said.
Mr. Museveni who commended the European Union for helping in funding the center, said that the problem is not the cows but rather organizational.
“It is now my pleasure to commission Biharwe Livestock Resource Center and I thank the European Union for helping you,” he said.
The Uganda Meat Producers Cooperative Union livestock Resource Center according to Mr. Okello Julius the treasurer of the union will help farmers to learn good farming practices.
“It 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.