The Uganda Government has announced plans to register all farmers and give their cows birth certificates for traceability of their products and to enable them benefit from the international market.
The Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Ssempijja, while speaking at the official opening of the National Agricultural Show at the Source of the Nile grounds in Jinja on Tuesday, said the international 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,” he said.
The minister added: “Farmers will be registered and their products given barcodes 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.’’
According to Daily Monitor, Ssempijja added that all the cows must be registered and given birth certificates.
‘‘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 added.
Ssempijja stated that an audit team from the European Union was expected in Uganda in September this year to ensure that all farmers producing commodities destined for Europe were 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. Government will not cater for those who defy the order when it comes to markets,” Ssempijja said, refuting allegations that the registration exercise was aimed at cheating farmers through imposing a tax on them which was scrapped on July 1.
In his message delivered by the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, President Museveni said Ugandans needed to be more competitive in order to effectively and sustainably penetrate the international market.
“People want to know what they are buying to eat, where it is coming from, its quality and what they are spending their money on. 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,’’ President Museveni said.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative in Uganda, Mr Antonio Querido, said Uganda needed livestock traceability for better agricultural product transaction on the international market.