FAO in Uganda

FAO in dialogue with private sector players to improve biosecurity and food safety along the poultry value chain in urban and peri-urban areas in Uganda

Poultry chicken slaughter processing line machine

With expectations of the poultry sector growth to triple in the next two decades, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is engaging with private sector players in the slaughter node of the poultry value chain to establish and implement best practices aimed at reducing public health-related risks and threats, such as food-borne and the zoonotic diseases.

These dialogues are premised under the Africa Sustainable Livestock 2050 (ASL2050), funded by USAID and implemented under the umbrella of the FAO Global Health Security Programme in collaboration with the ministries in charge of livestock, health, and environment sectors. ASL2050 objectives are to: identify emerging public health challenges associated with the growth and transformation of the livestock sector, such as emerging zoonotic diseases and livestock driven antimicrobial resistance; facilitate policy reforms at the local level to ensure that businesses along the livestock value chains adopt biosecurity and other good practices that reduce the risk of livestock-driven public health threats.

As part of the implementation of project activities, FAO collaborated with the Makerere University Business School (MUBS), and the Ministries of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Health and Environment to gather information in the two pilot districts of Mukono & Wakiso on the poultry business models at the different nodes of the value chain. An analysis of business models allows identification of actionable changes that ensure adoption of biosecurity practices by poultry producers, slaughterers, traders as well as retailers.

The findings indicate that poultry operators rely on family labor to operate, and do not keep proper books of accounts. These findings make it difficult to assess production costs and ascertain the actual profits of the business. Indeed, many poultry businesses use very rudimentary and highly labor-intensive methods, which cause them to incur high operating costs and consequently affect profits negatively. Adoption of basic biosecurity practices; ranging from vaccinating birds to regularly to disinfecting slaughter equipment and vehicles; in many cases would increase the profitability and sustainability of the business while reducing public health risks for consumers, and society as a whole.

According to FAO global perspectives unit, chicken consumption is projected to increase by 320%, while eggs by 240% in Uganda. While chicken production is expected to increase by 409% from about 175 Million birds (poultry alone), from the current 47 Million by 2050, the average carcass weight is expected to increase from the current 1.3 Kg per bird to 1.5 Kgs per bird.

The FAO’s Emergency Center for Transboundary Diseases (ECTAD) country team leader in Uganda; Dr Willington Bessong Ojong, cited that the poultry sector is expected to grow at an estimated 4.8% annually alongside the piggery sector in the next 30 years. The beef and dairy shall trail these sectors and are anticipated to grow at 4.7% and 3.6% per year, respectively. These trends represent a major business opportunity for producers, which will result in transformative changes of the livestock value chain, particularly in urban and peri-urban areas. Indeed, the demand for foods of animal origin in the future will largely originate from the growing and increasingly affluent urban population

“Whereas this potential is positively projected to improve livelihoods in form of income, source of protein, employment, among other benefits, this transformation is likely to come along with unanticipated negative events and especially public health challenges such as livestock-driven antimicrobial resistance, emerging infectious and increased endemic zoonoses, environmental contamination among others. We need to take actions now to ensure a sustainable transformation of livestock in the years ahead.”  

Mr Godfrey Kisembo, a poultry value chain actor in Wakiso district expressed concerns over the likelihood of an increase in prices of poultry and derived products resulting from the implementation of some of the best practices recommended such as, cost of veterinary inspection, increased engagement of veterinary staff in slaughter operations, as well as other costs of running the business.

FAO will further keep the dialogue with public and private livestock value-chain actors with the objective to improving compliance to best practices required by existing laws and legislations while promoting safe food access and profitability.