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 Promote Improved Livestock Breeds  Govt Told 

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Prossy Nandudu

Development partners in the livestock sector have asked the Government to promote improved livestock breeds to reduce the dependence of most farming households on indigenous breeds.

According to Dr Emily Ouma from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILIRI), indigenous breeds are not only less productive but also have negative effects on the environment.

Some studies show that the kind of feeds that livestock, especially cattle eat are later passed out in form of bad gasses such as methane, one of the contributors to global warming.

Ouma made the remarks on Thursday, March 28, 2024, during the launch of the 2021 livestock census report reports, that was conducted by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

According to the report, more Ugandans are keeping indigenous goats and cows, which she said is not sustainable with the changing environment.

For example, the total goat population was 17.4 million in 2021, an increase of 39.4% from 12.4 million in 2008. Of this figure, indigenous goats accounted for 97.2% of the total goat population, while exotic/cross constituted 2.8%.

In terms of regions, the western recorded the highest goat population of 4.6 million, contributing 26.3 per cent to the national herd size. This was followed by Northern region with 4.1 million, contributing 23.4 per cent.

Karamoja had the highest number of goats with 2.6 million followed by West Nile with 1.99 million goats and Ankole with about 1.98 million goats. The least number of goats were reported in Bukedi with 508 thousand goats (2.9%) and Elgon with 569 thousand goats.

Of the 14.5 million cattle recorded in the same period, indigenous cattle accounted for 77% while exotic/cross breed accounted for 23%.

Karamoja had the highest percentage of indigenous cattle constituting 2.4 million about 21.5% of the total indigenous cattle population in Uganda, followed by Teso with 10.5 per-cent (1.2 million), and Busoga with 8.3 per cent (about 1 million). The lowest indigenous cattle population was recorded in Kigezi sub-region with 2.1 per cent (0.2 million).

“The talk now is let us substitute animal source foods with other alternatives. we need to be investing in more productive livestock so as to see a shift away from more indigenous to a more exotic and productive breed,” Ouma added.

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