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Agriculture

Livestock farmers to reap big in petroleum sector

Livestock farmers looking at the heap of sirage that was kept for the dry season. (PHOTO/BOB AINE)

MBARARA – Livestock farmers under their umbrella body of Renaissance livestock Network (RELINE) have been asked to position themselves to in order to benefit in the petroleum sector that is expected to employ over 15,000 people in the oil camps.

James Musherure a senior national Content Officer in charge of contracts in the Petroleum Authority of Uganda said, the discovery of oil deposits in the Albertine basin in Bunyoro will employ over 15,000 people who will need to eat and drink.

He said there will be a demand for basic livestock products hence a need for livestock farmers to position themselves properly if they are to benefit massively.

Mr Musherure made these remarks while meeting RELINE farmers at Rubyerwa Diary Investment Farm in Rwanyamahembe sub-county in Mbarara district on Monday, August 19.

“I had come to meet these farmers to advise them on how they can benefit in the petroleum sector by supplying food, beef and milk to our workers in the camps who will be over 15000. We thought that to make these workers survive without getting assured of who is going to supply us with food, would be dangerous. “Said Musherure.

He added, “We do this to give priority for our domestic farmers so that when we call for bids, they are aware than considering those from abroad, so as a government we want to see how can these local farmers supply the industry on a daily basis”

He cautioned them on the standards. “The oil industry is not like any other sector where you will just slaughter your cow and supply no we shall need good standards and consistence in supply  of beef, milk, matooke and watermelon”

James Musherure from Petroleum Authority of Uganda speaks to media on Monday. (PHOTO/BOB AINE)

Musherure adds that the sector is to bring an investment of over $20bn since they are going to put up a refinery to purify oil into a finished product plus constructing a pipeline from Hoima to Tanzania in 1434kms.

Jones Ruhombe the chairperson RELINE farmers said the purpose of the meeting was to gauge their capacity on how they can supply livestock products to camps in Hoima in the oil sector. He believes that the capacity and potential is there since they have their big farms.

He said that they have agreed to go back and take stock of their livestock in their respective farms to ascertain the numbers of heads of cattle they raise and whether they can consistently supply the camps.

That in 2013, as RELINE they developed the cattle standard which has seven themes ranging from feeding, animal health, environment, record keeping and monitoring checklist.

“Now the first thing we are going to look at the standards that are required to supply those camps so that they can internalize on the improvement of their cattle standards, right now we have the right quantities not the right quality but the potential is there because we have farms,” said Ruhombe

He called upon parents to involve their children on the day to day activities on the farm rather leaving it for the old parents.

“I encourage parents to involve the children into farming at an early age, you cannot give me the responsibility to manage a farm at an old when age when I do not know, that child will not manage what she/he does not know.

Philomena Nshangano the Executive Director Rubyerwa Diary Investments limited on the capacity to supply the oil camps, noted that they are going to sit back and see what they can supply best to the camps.

Farmers in the meeting. (PHOTO/BOB AINE)

“I produce over 700 liters every day if another farm produces the same and we are many, am sure the capacity is there to meet the demand in Hoima and we shall do it,” said Mr Nshangano.

She also called upon parents to ensure their children are versed with what happens on their respective farms rather than sending them to Kampala.

However, farmers have expressed their concerns to the lack of a regulatory body that oversees and regulates the prices of beef in the country.

“We have suffered with middlemen in the beef production who underprice our livestock, other sectors like milk have a national regulatory body of Diary Development Authority but us we have been left out to be exploited by middlemen” Jones Ruhombe of Ruhombe Boran farm stressed.

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