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Uganda’s beef gets nod, visa changes assured at UK-Africa Investment Summit

African leaders and Johnson at the UK Summit

London, UK | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s beef will be given ”space’ on the United Kingdom market, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised.

Addressing the UK-Africa investment summit in London today morning, Johnson displayed unusual charm to the African leaders, underlining the need for closer business with the UK. He also promised changes to the processing of visas.

On Uganda, he said “I told Kaguta Museveni that his beef cattle will have an honored place on the tables of Britain.”

Immediately, State Minister for Investment Evelyn Anite, also attending the summit, called this an opportunity tweeting “Big thanks to PM. Boris for this great opportunity for the Ugandan beef farmers.”

Uganda’s beef is ranked favourably around the world because of its yellow fat that does not contain cholesterol mainly because the cows are naturally grazed, says Uganda Investment Authority.

An estimated 90 per cent of the national cattle herd is kept under pastoral and mixed smallholder farming systems. However, UIA notes that commercial beef ranching is limited accounting for less than 10 per cent of the national herd.

The country’s beef production has also been growing from 190,000 metric tons in 2012 to 211,000 in 2017, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics abstract. But there has not been much on the export side.  In 2018, Uganda flagged off the first consignment to Egypt as a step to opening up markets for Uganda’s beef.

The country needs more investment in standards and preparation to tap into the UK’s appetite for Uganda’s beef.

UIA has noted Uganda is not exporting as much as what is commensurate with the large livestock population existing in the country. This is because of the difficulties in complying with international sanitary and phytosanitary standard requirements.

Meanwhile, Johnson also told African leaders that the continent will benefit from changes to the immigration system after Brexit.

He said ‘You’ll be pleased to hear that one thing is changing – our immigration system. Change is coming, and our system is becoming fairer and more equal between all our global friends and partners…”

He added that “By putting people before passports we will be able to attract the best talent from around the world, wherever they may be”.

Ugandans, like many Africans, find it hard to get a UK visa.

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