Women in Mbarara City have been equipped with skills in meat processing as part of efforts to encourage value addition to animal products in Western Uganda.
According to Fred Kimbareba, the South Western regional representative of Uganda Small Scale Industry Association (USSIA), a total of 27 women and youths benefited from the training on meat hygiene and beef processing.
Another 21 women were taught how to create resourceful products like plates, cups, glasses, earrings, bangles and key holders from horns and bones.
“We started in October, training 21 women and youths on how to make products like plates, cups, glasses, earrings, bangles, key holders from horns and bones. And this time around we were training other seven groups of women and youths on meat hygiene,” Kimbareba explained.
Kimbareba says the program, which has been running for the last four years, is supported by the European Union (EU) in collaboration with the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) and USSIA.
The program targets women living in Uganda’s cattle corridors for training on how to enhance value addition of animal products such as horns, meat and milk.
The fortnight- long training dubbed ‘Capacity Building Support to Women in Beef Value Addition in Uganda (WOBIV)” ended on November 6, 2020 at Nyamitanga Technical Institute in Mbarara.
The said beneficiaries were already registered with various women’s groups involved in producing these products, including: BF Rufura yoghurt, Crystal clear, House of meat, NUNU yoghurt, Meat minds, Kisenyi friendly group and Kashaka women entrepreneurs.
Kimbareba requested the City administration to provide land for the entrepreneurs to set up and expand their enterprises.
“The European Union pledged to provide equipment like refrigerators, roasting stoves and mixers for the trainees’ use but they can only do that if we have a piece of land where we belong,” Kimbareba says.
Eng. Bafaki Gilvazio, Principal Nyamitanga Technical Institute (NTC), also called on government to provide the trainees with financial support to boost beef processing at a commercial level.
Agatha Kabarungi, one of the trainees, said that they are ready to implement the knowledge they have gained if government is supportive to small scale industries.
“Soon all the packed food in Mbarara will be processed from here using the skills we obtained during this training,” a confident Kabarungi said.
For his part, Dr. Andrew Bakashaba, the District Veterinary Officer (DVO) Mbarara, assured the trainees that the market for beef products is abundant in western Uganda since there are no meat processing plants in the region.
“In western Uganda there is no company making sausages. Those that are sold here come from Farmers’ Choice Nairobi Kenya, so you can start sausage-making and tap into the available market in Ankole,” Bakashaba explained.
Emmy Kateera Turyabagyenyi, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner (DRDC), Mbarara, advised the trainees to use the skills acquired to improve on their household income.
“If this value addition is taken to large scale production, we shall soon be exporting our products to other countries like Rwanda, DR Congo and so on, and get foreign exchange that we need to develop,” says Turyabagyenyi.
The Deputy RDC also encouraged the trainees to form Co-operatives so that they can increase their production capacity.
“Join entrepreneurship SACCOs such that you can increase your capital base and create a poverty-free society,” he urged.
Uganda Small Scale Industry Association operates in 18 districts and has branches in Kabale, Isingiro Mbarara, Kiruhura, Mitoma and Bushenyi among others.
Kimbareba says the program that kicked-off in October will be rolled out across the entire country to attract women and youths in the drive to skill Uganda.
Other programs will be also be conducted in different parts of the country, including: tie and dye, hand crafts, yoghurt processing, modern welding, shoe making among others.
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