Uganda’s beef has earned an honored place on tables across the world, what’s so special?

Last month, the President of the Senate of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) H.E. Modeste Bahati Lukwebo, commissioned the Zhong Wu Beef Abattoir in Nshaara Industrial Park located near Mbarara in Western Uganda.

The abattoir, the first of its kind in Uganda’s cattle corridor, is the anchor project of the Sino- Uganda Economic Development Special Zone set up by the government of Uganda under the Ministry of Agriculture and the Uganda Investment Authority and purposely created by President Yoweri Museveni to enhance the value chain in the cattle beef processing market in the country.

It consists of a state-of-the-art modern meat processing plant containing a fully automated production plant and storage with a 400 daily animal processing capacity ready for export.

Mr Stephen Kaboyo, the Chairman Sino Industrial Zone says the zone is the first industrial park in Western Uganda. “The land was provided by the president to do an industrial park for the economic transformation of this area,” he says adding that the park is going to be a major driver for the cattle corridor in that community.

L-R Mr. Odrek Rwabogo, Sino Uganda, Amb. Katureebe Tayebwa Head of Regional Economic Department Hon. Wilson Kajwengye, Member of Parliament Nyabushozi, Mr. Stephen Assimwe, the Executive Director Private Sector Foundation at the commissioning of the abattoir last month

While commissioning the facility Lukwebo, stated that the main purpose of this visit is to further bolster the excellent cordial bilateral relations between the DR Congo and Uganda. He hailed President Museveni for his commitment to improve bilateral trade between the two countries. The President of the Senate affirmed the willingness of the DRC to meaningfully explore these opportunities to boost trade for the mutual benefit of both countries. 

Also present at the commissioning were officials of the Embassy of the DRC to Uganda headed by H.E. Jean Pierre Massala, and officials from Uganda’s Embassy to the DRC headed by H.E. James Mbahimba, the Private Sector in Uganda and the leadership of Sino- Uganda Economic Development Special Zone, headed by Mr. Odrek Rwabogo and Mr. Kaboyo as well as the Zhong Wu Beef Imports & Exports Company managed by Mr. Wang Hu.

The Democratic Republic of Congo remains a major trading partner for Uganda, with an export trade volume of USD 578,900,000 registered in 2019, up from USD 491,420,000 in 2018.

Uganda’s beef is ranked 5th best in the world due to its yellow fat that does not contain cholesterol mainly because the cows are naturally grazed. An estimated 90% of the national cattle herd is kept under pastoral and mixed small holder farming systems. Commercial beef ranching is limited accounting for less than 10% of the national herd. According to data available, lean meat is preferred as a beef product by consumers and as such farmers that have traditional and indigenous animals are at an advantage as they fetch higher prices.

In western-central Uganda cattle corridor, even up to Luwero, zebu and long horned cattle are kept for beef production. Zebu and the Ankole-Watusi cattle are small, hardy and well adapted to local 4 conditions, but beef yields are relatively low as the animals don’t grow too big.

In January 2020, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson invited Ugandan cattle farmers to embrace the UK market as a destination for their beef. The prime minister said beef from the Uganda ‘will have an honoured place on the tables of Britain’. He was speaking at the UK-Africa investment summit in London on Monday 20 January, as he attempted to woo post Brexit investment partners.

He underlined the need for closer relations and trading links with Africa as it continues to experience ‘staggering levels of growth’.

“Look around the world today and you will swiftly see that the UK is not only the obvious partner of choice, we’re also very much the partner of today, of tomorrow and decades to come,” Johnson told the summit.

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