The Vice President, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi has called upon livestock farmers in Uganda, among other Africa countries to focus on value addition in their activities as part of the country’s effort to ensure food security and industrial growth.
While opening a three day Africa Livestock Conference and Exhibition currently being held at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Mr Ssekandi said that adding value to the livestock sector will enhance Africa’s competitiveness on the world market, boost foreign earnings and increase employment opportunities.
He said value addition chain will also reduce on wastage, enhance food security, improve livelihoods for low income groups and empower disadvantaged groups of society especially those in rural areas, indicating that investment in processing of animal products has been lacking because the ineffective domestic market for the more expensive processed products.
Mr Ssekandi also urged African Governments to help accelerate the development of the livestock sector, explaining that limited effective interventions and the disruptive conflicts hampered the continent’s productive capacity.
According to the vice president, three day summit under the theme; developing livestock value chain, improving livelihood in Africa will help appreciate the deepest interest and concern of enhancing livelihood of Africans through improvements on some of the assets commonly available to households.
He said that the performance of the livestock sector in Africa continent is still poor, adding that whereas Africa has the world’s second largest population, it still produces the lowest percentage of the world’s animal products and its share in the global trade in animal products is less than one per cent.
According to the executive director of East and Southern Africa Dairy Association Mr Peter Nyaruiya, the challenges of livestock sector include low farm productivity, limited access to markets and inadequate extension and support services which have in turn led to poor performance.
He said that the conference which has attracted about 300 scientist and livestock experts, exhibitors and policy makers from 35 countries across the globe is viewing these challenges as opportunities to enhance the contribution of the animal industry to livelihood of the regional rural population while creating numerous business opportunities.