The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Meat Producers to Build Multibillion Abattoir

The Uganda Meat Producers Cooperative Union (UMPCU) Ltd will construct a multi-billion modern abattoir in the cattle corridor in one of efforts aimed at boosting beef quality and export.

Through a partnership with the private sector, Norwegian donors and the Uganda government, UMPCU has secured up to $7.5m (Shs 19 billion) to erect the facility at Butalangu in Nakaseke district. Currently, animals slaughtered in Kampala abattoirs are being transported under crude conditions for long distances from the cattle corridor, which stretches from Karamoja through Teso, Luweero, Nakaseke, Mbarara to Ntungamo in western Uganda.

Norwegian beef and poultry giant Nortura SA, and UMPCU's 2,617-member livestock farmers (grouped in 33 cooperatives) in the country's cattle corridor, are the majority stakeholders in the abattoir project. Apart from housing the abattoir complex, the facility will include a ranch, and a hides and skins treatment section, among others.

Last week, UMPCU Chief Executive Officer Joshua Waiswa announced that they had already acquired 32 acres of land and constructions would begin before August.

With the facility, expected to slaughter as many as 100 animals per day, Waiswa said UMPCU would be in position to supply quality meat for both local and international markets.

Turkey, Egypt and most of the Middle East Arab nations are some of the meat export destinations targeted by the facility. Statistics from the ministry of Agriculture show that the livestock sub-sector is vibrant and has massive potential if fully commercialised. In 2012, beef production hit 191,280 tonnes, of which 84 were exported.

Last year, Uganda earned $20 million from exporting beef, milk and other dairy products. The country's herd has grown from eleven million heads of cattle in 2008 to 14 million. The abattoir is part of the donor-funded Livestock and Meat Cooperative Development project, intended to boost the private sector in commercial farming - although its funding has been separately sourced.

The Royal Norwegian Society for Development (Norges Vel), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and Nortura SA, have bankrolled the project to a tune of 5.88 million Norwegian Krone, equivalent to $950,000.

Under this project, livestock keepers in the cattle corridor will be equipped with knowledge of disease control, provide improved access to financial services and strengthen coordinated supply of meat to the markets.

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