ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia has cut ribbon to the newly build 100-million Birr (US$2.3m) veterinary drug manufacturing plant, built by the National Veterinary Institute (NBI) in Bishoftu town.
The factory will produce 91.5 million veterinary tablets annually, initially operating at 60 percent processing capacity.
According to reports by Ethiopia News Agency, the plant will enhance livestock productivity and accelerate the sector’s growth by availing cheaper and readily accessible remedies for the herds.
It will also save foreign currency by covering 15% of the country’s veterinary demands, producing 23 types of vaccines for animals with over 250 million doses annually.
Ethiopia has the largest inventory of livestock in Africa at 10 million. However, its productivity and commercialization remain low due to animal diseases, among other factors.
The sector is rallying up investment to streamline the issues curtailing its growth, as according to FAO the country’s population is set to grow from present 114 million to almost 190 million.
These changes will trigger consumption for all livestock products to increase tremendously with demand for milk and beef between 2015 and 2050, is estimated to grow by about 5.5 million tonnes and 0.9 million tonnes or 145% and 257% respectively, with similar or higher growth rates for demand of other animal source foods.
Uganda establishes feedlots
In a bid to tap into the lucrative global meat market which was valued at US$1.223 trillion in 2019 by Research and Markets, Uganda has embarked on efforts to create community feedlots to increase production.
On the Masaka-Mbarara highway alone, three major abattoirs have set up in a space of one year, reports Observer Uganda.
One of them, Zhong Wu Beef Importers and Exporters Group, opened business in February and much as it is impressed with the quality of local beef, the response of the farmers is still underwhelming.
“We have the capacity to slaughter 150 cattle daily but we are yet to hit that target,” said Jiang You Cai, the Zhong Wu investor.
The facility has a refrigerated vehicle assembly plant, veterinary and agriculture drugs production plant, pasture development as well as a vaccine production facility, and a feedlot for at least 1,000 head of cattle to serve the abattoir.
“A feedlot increases the amount of meat each animal produces as quickly as possible; if animals are kept in confined quarters rather than being allowed to range freely over grassland, they will put on weight more quickly,” Zhong noted.
Meanwhile, Dr Peter Beine, the acting executive director of the National Animal Genetic Resources Center and Databank (NAGRC&DB), said government is open to provide mentorship and support to farms.
“When farmers bring their cattle into a feedlot, it allows them to take advantage of good feed prices or target favorable markets,” he said.
“Feedlots are the most economical way to raise a large number of cattle for beef production because they require less land. It is also easy to control trade-sensitive diseases in animals raised in feedlots and easy to certify beef for international beef markets in Africa and beyond.”
Already, NAGRC&DB has a state-of-the-art feedlot demonstration centre in Lusenke, Kayunga and is working with Zhong Wu Beef and many progressive farmers across the country to set up several feedlots in various districts.
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