Parliament passes Animal Feeds Bill

The Animal Feeds Committee chaired by the Commissioner for Animal Production in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, is charged with the issuance of relevant permits in the industry.

Parliament passes Animal Feeds Bill
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The House has passed the Animal Feeds Bill, 2023 creating a committee to regulate production, storage, importation, exportation, and marketing of animal feeds.

The Animal Feeds Committee chaired by the Commissioner for Animal Production in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, is charged with the issuance of relevant permits in the industry.

In the Bill, a person seeking to engage in the production, storage, and sale of animal feeds will apply for a licence which shall be considered within three months. A similar arrangement is prescribed for anyone seeking a permit for premises to be used for storage, sale, and production of the feeds.

"The secretary to the committee shall, in collaboration with local governments, ensure that animal feeds are produced, stored or sold in safe and fit premises as prescribed in the second schedule,” reads the Bill.

According to the Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Bright Rwamirama, the new law will promote the animal industry, cognisant that inadequate animal nutrition has been one of the factors limiting Uganda's production of livestock products.

“Animal feeds account for 70 percent of the production costs and therefore, have a significant effect on production costs and profits. The level of nutrition influences the infection rates and disease resistance in animals and the low level of nutrition is therefore, part of the reason for the low livestock and poultry performance in Uganda,” said Rwamirama.

This was during the plenary sitting of Tuesday, 20 February 2024 chaired by Speaker Anita Among.

Kimaanya-Kabonera Division MP, Hon. Abed Bwanika, said the legislation is critical not only to animals but to humans who consume animal products. “Animal products end in humans, if the animal consumes feeds with aflatoxins, you can be sure they will enter your body when you consume milk. As we process this Bill, let us not think only about animals but humans as well,” said Bwanika.

Bwanika vouched for the committee created by the Bill and justified the provision requiring the committee to issue exports and import licences within 10 days, from the date of application as the best practice.

“For exportation, the country of destination sets the standards which we have to adhere to, the same applies to importers, we have standards for one to comply to, the period of issuance is fit,” Bwanika said.

The new law will additionally require exporters to obtain a sanitation certificate which will be approved by the committee.

The Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, advised that sanitation of animal feeds should be expressly enforced, saying any contamination will affect animal products’ exports from Uganda.

“If you export bad animal feeds, it means your animals are eating bad feeds, this will eventually stop our animal products in other markets. Sanitation is extremely important for us to export quality feeds,” Kiwanuka said.

The chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Janet Okori-Moe, was pleased with the Bill’s requirement for the agriculture minister to publish widely the list of the approved animal feed control laboratories, saying these will significantly improve the quality of the feeds.

“The Bill requires the producer of animal feeds who owns a laboratory to retain the services of a chemist or animal nutritionist who shall be responsible for the analysis and testing of animal feeds and issue a certificate of analysis for each batch of animal feeds before it is released for sale,” she said.

The new law guards against contamination of animal feeds by prohibiting the use of contaminants and providing safety measures for transportation of the feeds.  It will be at the discretion of the minister to provide guidelines regarding transportation, following the removal of licensing transportation from the Bill.

“These are animal feeds, they are not vaccines that will expire, we cannot ask for a licence but the minister could come up with punitive measures for those who expose feeds to damage and contamination,” said Hon. Aisha Kabanda (NUP, Butambala District Woman Representative).

The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, expressed concern that the Bill’s certificate of financial implication indicates only the expenditure that government will incur with its implementation but is devoid of revenue. He said this was one of the reasons some Bills are challenged in courts of law.

“The certificate does not show the social impacts on the economy. It does not show the expected revenue, but the expected expenditure of Shs18.5 billion over five years. This is why these Bills get challenged in court.” he said.

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