While Kenya is dealing with the reality of meat laced with excess preservatives to prolong its shelf life, the Ugandan government has come up with a way to trace meat back to its original source.

Kampala on Tuesday, July 16, announced plans to issue its cattle with birth certificates after registering them for the traceability of their products in the markets.

A report by Uganda’s Daily Monitor indicated the documents will also help cattle owners benefit from the international market. The announcement was made by the country’s Minister for Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fishery Vincent Ssempijja during the official opening of the national agricultural show in Jinja, Uganda.
‘‘For cattle farmers, it is going to be worse. You will be registered as a farmer, 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 to 24 months. So we are going to sell depending on their age,” he said.

According to the minister, the decision was informed by market demands that all countries producing foodstuff and crops for the European market produce its traceability. ‘‘They want to know where the products are coming from; they have been impounding and banning all consignments from Uganda if they find one box with issues,” Ssempijja added. “Farmers will be registered and their products given bar codes so that if they find a problem with one box, they look for the source and sort out the problem. We cannot enter lucrative market unless farmers register,” the minister added.

He further noted that an audit team from the European Union will visit the country in September 2019 to ensure all farmers producing meat for the EU market is registered. ‘‘Apart from traceability of the products, the team also wants to ensure that farmers benefit directly because many of them are cheated by middlemen,” said Ssempijja “Government will not cater for those who defy the order when it comes to markets,” said the minister.

Although President Yoweri Museveni was not present at the occasion, his message was delivered saying people want to know what they are buying, where it is coming from and its quality. “Registering farmers is a major requirement; we cannot do without it and if we ignore it, we will lose to competition in the international market,’’ Museveni said. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative in Uganda, Antonio Querido, said Uganda needs livestock traceability for better agricultural product transaction on the market.

Source: Tuko News

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