Photograph — AGOLIN

The Ugandan government has taken food hygiene and accountability to a whole new level with its latest initiative. In the coming months, farmers will be registered and their cattle will be issued “birth certificates.”

Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Ssempijja, explained that by international standards, all countries producing food for the European market should have proof of its traceability.

“They want to know where the products are coming from. They have been impounding and banning all consignment from Uganda if they find one box with issues,” Ssempijja said. Thus, farmers will be registered and products are given barcodes before they are exported.

This development is going to help prevent diseases that spread from farm animals to their produce. If a particular product is detected unhealthy for consumption, the farmer can be traced and whatever measures needed to curb the disease will be applied.

Furthermore, the “birth certificate” for animals stems from demand from customers. “The cow will be registered, numbered and will have a birth certificate because the importers of our products demand meat for cows aged between 15 and 24 months. So we are going to sell meat depending on their age,” the East African reports.

An audit team from the European Union (EU) is expected in the country by September to confirm the feasibility of this development. This extensive measure being taken by the EU may be due to occurrences in the past. Reports have shown that animal cultivation in Uganda has been constrained by some cultural factors such as poor animal husbandry.

Ultimately, the goal is to produce healthy and standard products that meet the prescribed criteria, as the production and exportation of beef are taken seriously in the country. The sector has the potential to generate immense wealth and currently contributes up to nine percent of the country’s GDP.

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