Livestock Gene Bank Will Improve Productivity-Agriculture Minister

Ssempijja says that the Gene Bank will increase livestock production and productivity and farmers will upgrade subsistence agriculture to commercial livestock.
Agriculture officials join Prime Minister Vincent Ssempijja to Launch New Indigenous Gene Bank Installation

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The establishment of a Gene Bank at the National Animal Resources Center in Entebbe will improve productivity of indigenous livestock in the East African region, the Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja has said.  

Government of Friday launched the creation of a Gene Bank, a facility that will see preservation of animal genes for indigenous livestock from twelve Eastern Africa countries.

Gene banks are a type of bio repository which preserves genetic material.   By 2017, Uganda had 14.3 million indigenous cattle, 15.3million goats, 4.3 million sheep, 4 million pigs and 41 million chicken.

Ssempijja says that the Gene Bank will increase livestock production and farmers will upgrade from subsistence agriculture to commercial livestock.

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Countries that will utilize the Eastern Africa regional gene bank include; Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Djibouti, Comoros, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Each country will have its own storage room where animal genes will freely be stored and retrieved any time. 

Dr Mary Kiriuki from the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) says, at that time, it was predicted that the graceful Ankole cow which is raised much in eastern and central Africa, was being replaced with black and white Friesian cow, hence the Ankole cow being at the verge of extinction.

Kiriuki says it is upon such background that the European Union and the United Nations endorsed the creation of 5 regional gene banks in Africa to store, protect and preserve genes of Africa’s indigenous resilient species.

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Dr David Balikowa, EAC'sSenior Livestock Officer says that in order to meet the food requirement of the population, there is indiscriminate importation and use of imported genetics hence erosion of indigenous breeds of livestock. 

He, however, remains optimistic that, a regional gene bank is one of the approaches that'll conserve Africa's animal species which are disease tolerant.

Jeanne Muhinda the Executive Director Association for Strengthening Research in East and Central Africa says the gene bank will be useful in Research for all the eight member states of the Association and the Inter-Government Authority on Development – IGAD.

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