The government is seeking to secure an $80m (about Shs289b) loan from the World Bank to improve cattle breeding and handling facilities.
While handing over valley tanks in Teso and Karamoja sub-regions last week, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Vincent Ssempijja, said government has asked for the additional funding under the Regional Pastoral Livelihood Resilience Project (RPLRP).
In 2015, the Agriculture ministry started implementing the project to improve livelihoods of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in drought-prone areas.
Government has spent more than $40m (Shs144b) on the construction of valley tanks at Adai in Katakwi District, Onyangakonye (Amuria) ,Omunga (Abim), Tajar (Bukedea), Nakumama (Napak) and Agurut (Kumi).
The projects have improved the quality and quantity of cattle products for foreign markets. RPLRP is also being implemented in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Mr Sssempija said they are hopeful that the loan proposal will be considered.
“With these new facilities coupled with a flamboyant livestock market system in place, the farmers are at an advantage to live settled and sedentary lives in the near future because they will be able to access water even during long dry spells,” he said.
Mr Ssempija said Uganda’s meat products at the global market remain competitive but limited, adding that the funding will improve the quality and quantity for the beef products at the global markets.
He said research through crossing the zebu breed with other exotic breeds is underway to increase the country’s quantities of meat on the global market.
Mr Stephen Kajura, the assistant commissioner of animal resources, said the valley tanks opened range from 30,000m cubic litres to 40,000m cubic litres able to be used by the cattle keepers throughout the entire dry spells, some of which last up to five months.
Mr Kajura said under the RPLRP project, the ministry has implemented several activities among the cattle keeping areas, including mass vaccination against foot-and-mouth disease.
Mr Martin Okwalinga, the Kumi District veterinary officer, said the Agurut valley tank with 30,000m cubic litre capacity is serving an estimated 292,000 beneficiaries.
He said other areas such as Ongino Sub-county will benefit from the additional funding.
Mr Walter Elakas, the Katakwi District chairperson, hailed the projects, saying they have changed lives of pastoralists.
Mr Elakas said the district has improved abattoirs, laboratory equipment for animals, cattle crushes and vaccination centres, among other facilities.