Back in 2017 when Vincent Ssempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, travelled to Beijing for the China Africa Business forum, he lobbied the Chinese business community to tap into the livestock opportunities in Uganda.
Later that year, an MOU between China and Uganda was developed and signed to provide five square miles of Nshaara ranch land in Sanga, Kiruhura district, for the Sino Uganda Modern Economic Development Special Zone.
About 600 acres of this land, which belongs to the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Databank (NAGRC&DB), was allocated to investor Jiang You Cai and his Zhong Wu Beef Importers and Exporters Group to develop an export abattoir. The purpose of setting up the abattoir is to add value to Ugandan beef for export to China as a main market, and also to European Union, Middle East and regional markets.
Last week, a team of ministry officials led by Dr Bright Rwamirama, the state minister for Animal Industry, commissioned Zong Wu’s abattoir. Others on the team were included Dr Juliet Sentumbwe, the acting director Animal Health and Dr Anna Rose Ademun, the commissioner Animal Health.
The Zhong Wu beef importers and exporters group seeks to establish an agricultural industrial park to maximally utilize the land and increase in investment value. The proposed enterprises include a refrigerated vehicle assembly plant, veterinary and agriculture drugs production plant, feedlots for 1,000 heads of cattle to serve the abattoir, pasture development as well as a vaccine production facility.
During the tour, Rwamirama’s team observed that the new installations are of good quality. However, there were some features that required installing such as the lairage and offloading ramp. The developer was advised to incorporate them for ease of operations. There also remain a few challenges that need to be addressed such as consistent water and electricity supply. In spite of this, the developer promised to be ready to operate by May.
At the end of the tour, Rwamirama emphasised the need to support the company from the various government agencies in order to fulfil the goals set.