Uganda has made its maiden beef export to Egypt shipping 50 tonnes of the commodity to the Middle Eastern country.
The consignment, which is equivalent to 50,000 kilogrammes, was the first batch from the Egypt-Uganda Food Security Company situated north of Kampala in Luweero District. The company has been undergoing two years of development.
In a statement, Mr Sherif el-Kallini, the Egypt-Uganda Food Security Company chief executive officer, said Ugandan meat stands a better opportunity because of its high quality.
The shipment has been a culmination of three agreements that President Museveni signed with Egyptian leader Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during a visit to Cairo last May.
President Museveni inaugurated the Egypt-Uganda Food Security Company in 2016, as one of Africa’s largest slaughterhouse.
He underscored the need for Uganda to export its beef products, arguing that it would be the preferred choice because it is produced from organically fed livestock.
Mr Hishem Jahffal, the Egypt-Uganda Food Security Company project manager, told Daily Monitor yesterday this was a trial shipment after a series of challenges.
“This is going to be continuous. It was our first order. We have had a lot of challenges [but] now we have shipped the first consignment,” he said.
The Egypt-Uganda Food Security Company was registered in 2011 with a planned turnover of $10m (Shs37b). It has the potential to create 1,000 jobs.
The slaughterhouse was commissioned by President Museveni in May 2016 but had not exported any beef since pointing to a number of challenges which among them included cost of electricity, poor animal quality and lack of adequate and safe places to seclude (quarantine) animals to attain required standards.
Mr Jahffal said they plan to enter full negotiations with the government of Uganda and Egypt to see how more volumes can be exported.
The company sources most of its animals across the country with emphasis put on standards and particular specification.
“We are always looking out for more because we don’t have a sustainable supply [source]. We believe in a network of farmers who supply us,” Mr Jahffal.
The Egypt-Uganda Food Security Company hopes to make its next shipment in September pending completion of negotiations.
According to Mr Kallini, the export is likely to bring in the country about $50m (about Shs185b) in foreign exchange annually.
The facility has capacity to butcher about 400 animals in a single shift with holding space of nearly 5,000 animals.
It is also fully equipped with coolers, skinning equipment and processing facilities.