Ugandan cows ‘to get birth certificates’ as required by EU regulations – Agriculture Minister

KAMPALA, All Ugandan cows are to receive birth certificates to allow them to be more easily traced in order to comply with European Union (EU) regulations.

Countries producing food for the European market must provide proof of its traceability, said Vincent Ssempijja, the minister for agriculture, animal industry and fisheries.

He said products from Uganda were being impounded and banned from the EU.

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, he said.

We cannot enter lucrative markets unless farmers register, he added.

Ssempijja added that all the cattle 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 [the meat] depending on their age, he added.

According to Ssempijja, an audit team from the European Union is expected in Uganda in September to ensure that all farmers producing commodities destined for Europe are 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, he announced, refuting allegations that the registration is aimed at imposing a tax on them.

President Yoweri Museveni, in a message delivered by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, said Ugandans need to be more competitive in so they can benefit from 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, he said.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative in Uganda, Antonio Querido, said Uganda needs livestock traceability for better product transaction in the international market.

Agriculture is one of the important sectors for Uganda's economy in terms of employment, food security and wealth creation, contributing about 25 per cent of the national GDP and employing over 70 per cent of the population.

Its export earnings rose by 9.6 per cent to $3.93 billion between July 2018 and March 2019 � up from $3.59 billion a year earlier.

Museveni attributed the increase to a raise in export volumes of coffee, tea, maize, beans and the continued investment in Agriculture.

Source: Nam News Network

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