The government of Uganda has announced its intention to register all farmers and their livestock, including the issuance of “birth certificates” for animals so that it can trace their products.
The East African reports that Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Minister Vincent Ssempijja said on Tuesday that the international market demands that all food-producing countries destined for the European market have proof of their traceability.
“They want to know where the products come from (meat and crops). Products from Uganda, posing a risk, are confiscated and banned,” he said at the official opening of the National Agricultural Fair in Jinja, southern Uganda.
“Farmers will be registered and their products will receive barcodes so that if they find a product at risk, they look for the source and fix the problem. We can not enter lucrative markets if farmers do not register their products.”
Mr. Ssempijja added that all cattle must be registered and receive a birth certificate. “For livestock farmers, it will be more serious. You will be registered as a breeder, the cow will be registered and will have a birth certificate because the exporters of our products ask for meat for cows aged between 15 and 24 months. We will sell (meat) according to their age,” he added.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, European Union audit team is expected in Uganda in September to ensure that all farmers producing products destined for Europe are registered. “In addition to traceability of products, the team also wants to ensure that farmers benefit directly because many of them are deceived by intermediaries,” he said, refuting the allegations that the registration is aimed at to impose a tax on them.
President Yoweri Museveni, in a message delivered by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, said Ugandans must be more competitive in order to benefit from the international market. “People want to know what they buy as food, where it comes from, its quality and why they spend their money. Registration of farmers is a major requirement; we can not do without it and if we do not know it, we will be losing out to the competition in the international market,” said the president.
The representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Uganda, Mr. Antonio Querido, said that Uganda needs livestock traceability for a better transaction of products on the market international.
Agriculture is one of the important sectors of the Ugandan economy in terms of employment, food security and wealth creation; it accounts for about 25% of national GDP and employs more than 70% of the population.
Its export earnings grew by 9.6% between July 2018 and March 2019, from $3.59 billion a year earlier to $3.93 billion. President Museveni attributed the increase to increased export volumes of coffee, tea, maize, beans and continued investment in agriculture.