President Museveni has promised to donate 27 square miles of land in Mbarara District to a United Arab Emirates investor to set up model farm in the country. Sources from the state house say the UAE investor, Dr Ahmed Eltigani Al Mansourie will bring in a new technology to fertilise cows that produce high milk.
The president reportedly promised to allocate the free land during a meeting on Friday at the statehouse Nakasero. Dr Eltigani who is the Envoy of the Emir of Sharjan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), had called on him to discuss investment opportunities in the country.
According to a press release from the statehouse, the meeting which was attended by the State Minister for Animal Industry, Ms Joy Kabatsi, Uganda Chamber of Commerce President, Ms Olive Zainab Kigongo, and Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, also touched on other investment opportunities in different sectors.
Ms Kabatsi, confirmed attending the meeting and said the investor plans to set up a model farm in the country. She said the model farm will be established in Nsala, a government land near Mbarara town.
She noted that Dr Eltigani is introducing a technology where high milk producing cow is injected with some medicine which will make it produce many eggs. The eggs are then fertilized by a similar bull from a good milk producing herd and then the eggs are implanted in several other cows. She said this will increase the number of the high quality milk producing cows.
"We are trying to do this for our local Ankole milk... we are going to have those cows deliver more and more. We hope this technology will help us to preserve our local Ankole cows."
According to her, through the technology, a single cow can produce more than fifty calves of high milk producing gene. She said the technology is aimed at preserving the Ankole cows and ensure that those that produce more milk are not eliminated.
The minister said the first priority goes to Ankole cows, however, the technology will be rolled to other parts of the country as well. She said through this technology, one cow can produce up to 50 calves within nine months.
While the model farm will host the initial process, the target is to reach about six thousand farmers who will benefit from the technology. Ms Kabatsi also said they will roll the programme to the other parts of the country where good quality animals will also be selected for both meat and milk production.
On why the investor is coming at a time when the president has just returned the biosafety bill to the parliament over concerns on the local genes and a host of other issues, she said the technology will not modify anything, but simply working with the natural genes. "No no no, we are not modifying anything, we are just using our own genes, but only improving the quality," she said.
Dr Eltigani is also Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Sharjan and the Chief Executive (CEO) of the UAE's largest Dairy Company, Alranabi. Uganda's Ambassador to the UAE, Ms Nimisha Madhvani, accompanied the UAE entrepreneur.
President Museveni assured him that the government of Uganda will locate land to the investors on which more of such model farms for modern farming and factories for food and fruit processing will be built.