Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Minister for Science, Technology and innovation Dr. Monica Musenero has challenged animal sector players to focus on research and value addition as the Uganda moves towards developing its entire industrial sector.
Delivering the key note address at a two day Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) symposium and Annual General Meeting at Imperial Royale Hotel Kampala December 2-3, Dr. Monica Musenero said agro-industrialization will require strategic actions. Value addition in the Animal sector, she said, will improve incomes and create jobs.
“Where are we going to create jobs if as livestock stakeholders we allow only one value point, where I get an animal, slaughter it and the final consumer comes to buy? This is constraining the economy,” she said.
She advised that, “If we industrialize along that value chain, by the time someone picks meat from a supermarket, you have employed 10 or 20 people along the way. That is why industrialization and value addition is very important to an economy.”
The theme for this year’s symposium was “strategic positioning of the animal health sector players for agro industrialisation and social transformation in Uganda” and was held as government prepared to fully open the economy after nearly two years of various levels of lockdown.
After several presentations from various experts, it was agreed that the Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) headed by Dr Daniel Kasibule should form think tanks consisting of experts along the livestock value chain to generate ideas and come up with practical solutions to challenges of the veterinary sector. As one first step, UVA are finalizing a website https://ugandavetassociation.org to help disseminate news from members.
“This symposium therefore offers a big opportunity for reflection on our current situation as animal health players in regard to the ongoing agro industrialization and social transformation agenda and together forge amicable ways forward with other stakeholders for a better animal industry that will contribute to the ultimate wellbeing of the animal and humankind,” said Kasibule in his opening remarks.
UVA executive was therefore tasked by delegates to follow up and ensure that cabinet resolutions of having an independent drugs regulatory body in charge of veterinary drugs housed in Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) is implemented to ensure proper control and regulations of veterinary products.
Experts proposed a discussion with MAAIF on restructuring of department in districts to include a veterinary department to ensure proper planning and coordination with other departments like health for control of emerging disease using one health strategy.
Other areas discussed at the symposium was the insufficient funding from ministry to local governments level that is evidenced by the fact that all vaccines against priority animal and zoonotic diseases are imported. It was noted there are no regional vaccine banks , quality assurance and standardization facilities, inadequate district level vaccine storage facilities and field based cold chain equipment, dilapidated veterinary offices across districts .
Lack of commensurate pay to veterinarians was raised by several members. It was noted that the pay increment for scientists in other fields excluding veterinarians has led to the discomfort of veterinarians and is resulting in the extensive migration of more competent veterinarians.
“Whereas today, the country may not immediately feel the impact of this, within a period of 3-5 years, the result will be reflected in the performance of Animal Industry,” Kasibule warned.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries was urged to develop and implement a national herd health program with meaningful funding for major epidemics vaccination calendar, Develop and disseminate SOPs for the major epidemics ( FMD, African Swine Fever(ASF), New Castle Disease(NCD) and Lumpy Skin Disease(LSD).