Minister of State for Animal Industry Lt. Col. (Rtd) Bright Rwamirama announced a nationwide livestock census, saying it's among the highest priorities in the agro-industrialization program under the third National Development Plan (NDP III).
Minister Rwamirama said the census is to aid in obtaining data on basic characteristics of livestock (age, sex, breed, and livestock system), get information on farm infrastructure, and establish ownership and tenure regime for land used in livestock rearing. The census is to also help establish labor and use of households that engage in livestock.
“This information is very vital if we are to plan for development of the Livestock Sector. The sector's development is fundamental to support the transformation of the country in a sustainable way economically, socially, environmentally and from a public health perspective,” the minister said.
“A robust analysis of livestock production systems and value chains, an understanding of trends in consumption of animal source foods, and an assessment of returns to different investments are essential to formulate and prioritize policy actions.”
The exercise is being conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS and shall be implemented between May 17-28.
“In the next decades, population growth, urbanization, technological innovations and adoptions, increased movements of people and goods, not to mention climate change, will thoroughly transform Ugandan society, in ways that are often unpredictable,” Minister Rwimarama explained.
“This information, therefore, will provide invaluable insights to policymakers and investors on actions to take today to make the Ugandan livestock industry responsive to the increasing demands.”
Uganda last held this kind of census in 2008, where officials found that about 4.5 million households (70.8%) rear at least one kind of livestock or poultry.
Results put the number of cattle at 11.4million, goats at 12.5million, sheep at 3.4 million, pigs at 1.3million.
The national chicken flock was estimated at 37.4 million with 1.97millions eggs laid per day. In addition, there were 300,000 rabbits, 150,000 donkeys, 1590 horses, 32,870 camels, 1.6million dogs and 640,000 cats.
It was also established that the country had 750,000 beehives producing 2600 metric tonnes of honey per annum. According to the minister, a study conducted in the region in 2009 by IGAD revealed that of the four IGAD countries reviewed, only Uganda had undertaken a national livestock census.
“From this data and the twice-yearly Uganda National Panel Survey (UNPS), the study was able to re-estimate the contribution of livestock to agricultural GDP. The re-estimated livestock value added in 2009 was Shs1,069.407 billion was found to be nearly double the original official estimate of Shs573 billion, an increase of 86.6% over official estimates for that year,” the minister.