An opportunity is brewing for people in Mbarara city as the Sino Industrial Park in Nshara finalises set up of a modern abattoir that will attract local demand of about 150 cattle per day.
Speaking at the industrial park in Mbarara, Mr Stephen Kaboyo, Sino Industrial Park and Economic Zone chairman, said the abattoir was 95 per cent complete.
"So far the flagship project of the modern beef abattoir is 95 per cent complete and close to $7m in investment so far. Our approach is to engage the local communities as much as possible so that they can benefit from this investment in terms of supply and job opportunities," he said.
The abattoir is expected to have a demand of 150 cattle per day, but has installed capacity to handle 400 cattle, which Mr Kaboyo said, will be sourced locally through the community and synergies with National Animal Genetic Resources Centre.
It will mainly target the export market including regional and global market.
"We are targeting entry into Chinese market where a kilogramme of beef is very competitively priced at about $12. So it is high time for Ugandan exports to reach areas like China. We are also looking at the regional markets that can take Uganda's beef," he said.
The five square mile industrial park, will in its first phase house 15 factories including a cigarette factory, pesticide factory, car battery factory and mineral water factory among others.
However, commencement of its operations is largely being affected by lack of electricity and water.
Mr Kaboyo requested that Umeme installs a substation to ensure adequate and reliable supply to the factories.
Mr Selestino Babungi, the Umeme managing director, said they will prioritise electrification of the industrial park, noting the industrial zones have a huge economic impact to the country.
"Their immediate need is putting up poles plus a substation, which costs under $2m. We have already acquired land in Lyantonde to put up a switching station, which will cost us about $1m.
It will stabilise power to Lyantonde so that there is enough flexibility to get power from Masaka or Mbarara simultaneously without any delays in case of any outages," he said.
Once completed, the industrial park, which is targeting to have over 500 factories at peak capacity, is expected to employ about 5,000 people.
Impact on milk
Mbarara is among the districts in the cattle corridor, predominantly known for dairy farming.
However, emergence of beef processing plants is impacting the dairy sector as farmers seek to shift to the more lucrative beef sector.
The shift is informed by the low milk prices. A recent engagement with some dairy farmers and extension workers in Mbarara revealed that farmers are increasingly shifting to beef farming because of higher yields.
Mr Ram Kumar manager commercial, Amos dairies, a milk exporting factory, said whereas milk production has increased, partly due to increased farm gate prices offered by the factories, it is still not to the desirable amounts.
"Before, farmers were earning Shs250 per litre. We increased it to Shs700 and sometimes it goes upto Shs900. But currently, we are operating at 50 per cent capacity, if the farmers can increase production, will be good for us to continue contributing to growth of the economy," he said.