KAMPALA – The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the government of Uganda through its line ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) have jointly launched a report on the future of livestock in Uganda.
The detailed report was officially unveiled on Thursday, July 18, at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala. The report highlights opportunities and challenges in the face of uncertainty which also happens to be the sub-theme of the USAID funded report.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Agriculture, Vincent B Ssempijja said that agriculture is the main thrust of Uganda’s economic growth.
“This is because the sector contributes 25% of the national GDP and employs over 70% of Uganda’s population. This sector also provides great potential and avenues for economic growth and economic inclusion, particularly for women and youth.” Hon Ssempijja noted.
According to the report by FAO, Uganda will rapidly grow and extensively transform in the next three decades.
The country’s population is anticipated to reach about 106 million in the year 2050 vis-a-vis a current population of 40 million today, and the size of the economy is expected to more than triple. Such a pace of change is unparalleled in Uganda’s history.
Along this transformative process, the demand for animal products will increase.
FAO’s Country Representative His Excellency, Antonio Querido in his preface statement in the report notes that Ugandan decision-makers have to grapple with so many uncertainties from multiple directions that prioritizing interventions and holding a straight course will prove a daunting task.
“In the next decades, population growth, urbanization, technological innovations and adoptions, increased movements of people and goods, not to mention climate change, will thoroughly transform Uganda”.
Society in ways that are often unpredictable.” H.E Antonio Querido notes in the report.
The human population is expected to more than double by 2050 and 44 percent of the people will live in urban areas vis-a-vis 22 percent today; GDP per capita will increase by 175 percent and consumption of livestock products will more than triple.
The livestock sector accounts for about 17% per cent of agricultural value added and 4.3 percent of GDP.
According to the report, fifty-eight (58%) percent of households depend on livestock for their livelihoods. Most of them are subsistence-oriented smallholders.
In Uganda, there are 14.2 million cattle, 16 million goats, 4.5 million sheep, 47.6 million poultry and 4.1 million pigs (MAAIF and UBOS, 2018).
Cattle and poultry – the focus of this report – are by far the most important species, with their production valued at USD 8.9 and USD 0.9 million per year, respectively (UBOS, 2017). About nine out of ten cattle and poultry are indigenous.
Mr Querido also notes that the livestock sector’s development is fundamental to support the transformation of the country in a sustainable way socially, environmentally and from a public health perspective.
“A robust analysis of livestock production systems and value chains, an understanding of trends in consumption of animal source foods, and an assessment of returns to different investments are essential to formulate and prioritize policy actions,” says Mr Querido in the FAO report.