President Museveni autographs a painting of an ankole cow by NARO as a gift to the Emir of Qatar as a sign of friendship.
The President met with the leadership of NARO at the state house, Entebbe to discuss the prospects of modernizing beef research and production in relation to trade. He urged NARO to promote breeding cows for both beef and milk, and to sensitize farmers against nomadic farming. He said with zero grazing, cows gain the weight necessary for modernizing beef production for trade while with nomadic farming, the energy that cows use walking, eventually affects their weight gain.
“Those cows, you can take them to the Olympics and they will win medals because they spend a lot of time walking”.
He went on to share history about a chief (in the 1950s), from the Rukungiri who was against nomadic pastoralism. This chief is said to have accused those seen roaming with cows in the bush of being local and had advised his subjects to have few cows, build them a shade and feed them on banana peelings (obuhaturo). With this management of cattle, the chief’s cattle were very fat, the president said in conclusion of the story.
To achieve this, he advised NARO to solve the issue of pasture through sensitising livestock farmers to adopt the idea of planting pastures necessary for zero grazing. On the issue of the anti-tick vaccine, the President pledged to support NARO in the development of vaccines.
In his remarks to the President, Dr. Ambrose Agona, Director General of NARO, said in order to contribute to the public sector’s capacity to conduct research, there is a need to establish and operationalise a state-of-the-art beef and science research center of excellence at NARO’s research institute at Maruzi. He said NARO needs funding of US $300 million in order to enhance the national capacity to undertake beef production. The project needs a systematic production system including the National Beef Research Centre, National Halal Laboratory, forage/feed production centers, a national beef breeder and conservation center, commercial cow-calf farms, commercial goat stocker farms, commercial beef feedlot farms, five commercial goat feedlot farms, commercial abattoirs and meat processing centers, and community agro-resources centers.
NARO has developed four novel anti-tick vaccines and is building a UGX 20 billion state-of-the-art vaccine research and production complex at Nakyesasa. He urged the President to support funding under the Beef Research and Agribusiness Project (BRAP) from the government of Qatar, which is part of the special Emir Fund for investment in specific countries in Africa. He said the funding would finance the establishment of a fully-fledged research centre of excellence at Maruzi. He said the capacity of the technology human resource for enhanced beef research, beef value addition, and quality management will be strengthened.
The meeting was attended by Dr. Nassan Mutembeya Tandekwire, Dr. Ambrose Agona, Director General, National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO), Dr. Yona Baguma, Deputy Director Research Coordination, NARO, Professor Justus Rutaisire, Director Corporate Services, NARO, Dr. Swidiq Mugerwa, Director Livestock Research, NARO, Mr. Abbasi Kigozi, Senior Research Officer Livestock NARO, and Mr. Hussein Kato Walusimbi, Senior Research Officer Livestock NARO.
Amama Mbabazi, the former Prime Minister who is now the President’s Special Envoy to South Sudan and Ethiopia and Chairman of the African Global Security Foundation, and Ambassador Dr. Rashid Yahya Ssemuddu, in charge of seven countries, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen, also attended the meeting.