By Vision Reporter
Livestock farmers in Karamoja have asked Government to woo investors who can add value to animals to enhance their incomes.
Their leader, Peter Lokol, a resident of Loputuk sub-county in Moroto district, said setting up investments, like a meat processing plant, would discourage cattle rustling.
“If we get investors in livestock to add value, this will guarantee sustainable income for our people and lead to increased productivity, thus realising development in the area,” he said.
James Longoria, a resident of Nachele village in Nadunget sub-county, Moroto district, said investments would create jobs.
The residents made the remarks during the commissioning of Nadunget Livestock and Commodity Market constructed by Mercy Corps with support from the United States Agency for International Development in Moroto district.
Karamoja affairs state minister Agnes Nandutu, who officiated at the commissioning of the market, implored investors to invest in livestock value addition in Karamoja to contribute to the development of the area. She said Karamoja has goat milk and organic beef, but lacks investors to take advantage of the products.
“This is not the first livestock market in the region. There are others in Amudat and Kotido. In one month, the district collected over sh600m in revenue. If there was no insecurity in this region, people would make a lot of money. If investors add value to our livestock, Karamoja would flourish,” she added.
Statistics indicate that Karamoja holds 20% of cattle in Uganda, 16% of goats, 50% of sheep and 90% of donkeys.
According to the National Livestock Census in 2008, the number of cattle in Uganda grew from 5.4 million in 1996 to 11.4 million. Western, eastern and central Uganda each had a population of about 2.5 million head of cattle, Karamoja sub-region followed with 2.3 million cattle, while the rest of northern Uganda had 1.6 million. Another census was conducted in 2021, but the findings are yet to be released.
The USAID Uganda mission director, Richard Nelson, said a recent study confirmed that nine markets in Karamoja made sh20b in livestock trade transactions with projections that it could increase to over $10m.