UGANDA – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed the Animal Feeds Act, 2023 into law, a move aimed at revolutionizing the country’s livestock sector.

Signed on May 14, 2024, the Bill provides a legislative framework for the operationalization of the animal feed policy by regulating the production, importation, exportation and marking of animal feeds in a bid to boost the local feed capacity.

 The Bill was tabled in parliament on 25 October 2023, and then in Feb 2024, the Ugandan parliament passed it, creating a committee to regulate the production, storage, importation, exportation, and marketing of animal feeds.

The enactment of this bill, among others, signifies a significant step towards enhancing animal nutrition standards and boosting livestock productivity. The Veterinary Practitioners Act, 2023 and The National Records and Archives (Amendment) Act, 2024 were also signed on that day.

Under this law, the establishment of the Animal Feeds Committee will oversee adherence to these regulations, ensuring the quality and safety of animal feeds across the nation.

Addressing the critical issue of inadequate animal nutrition, Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, Frank Tumwebaze, emphasized the pivotal role of animal feeds in driving livestock productivity.

With animal feeds accounting for a substantial 70 percent of production costs, the enactment of this bill is poised to mitigate this challenge and enhance profitability for farmers.

Stringent measures, penalties

Central to the Animal Feeds Act are stringent penalties aimed at deterring malpractice within the industry.

Dealers found guilty of dealing in adulterated or contaminated animal feeds face tough consequences, including fines of up to Shs5M (US$1300) or imprisonment for up to five years.

Additionally, licensing requirements for the production, storage, transportation, and sale of animal feeds are enforced, ensuring compliance with industry standards.

Importantly, the legislation sets out clear guidelines for the importation and exportation of animal feeds, emphasizing the need for adherence to established protocols and standards.

In clause 29(3) the Act states that; Any person who adulterates or contaminates animal feeds commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred fifty currency points or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both.

Clause 8 makes it mandatory for licensing of production, storage, transportation and sale of animal upon payment of fees prescribed by Regulations made under this Act and shall be valid for a year from the date of issue.

The Ministry of Agriculture further proposed in clause 8(6) to have any person who produces, stores, transports or sells animal feeds without a valid licence to be held liable on conviction- (a) in the case of an individual, to a fine not exceeding one hundred currency points equivalent to Shs2M  (US$500) or a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both; or (b) in case of a body corporate, to a fine not exceeding two hundred currency points about Shs4M (US$1000).

In clause 11, Government has set up modalities to be followed before anyone can import animal feeds including the need to apply for an import permit and this should be done at least ten working days before the animal feeds is imported.

In clause 11(7), the Act says that; A person who imports animal feeds contrary to this section commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding two hundred currency points (Shs4M) or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one years, or both.

The Act also has procedures to be followed for anyone with interest in dealing in the exportation of animal feeds, requiring these individuals to apply for a sanitary certificate, at least ten working days before the animal feeds is exported.

Clause 12(5) says any person who exports animal feeds contrary to this section shall be held liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding two hundred currency points (Shs4M) or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.

Government in clause 17 (1) has barred any person from importing or producing animal feeds which contains veterinary drugs or hormones, without the approval of the National Drugs Authority.

The Ministry of Agriculture in clause 17(4) proposed to bar a person from importing or producing locally, animal feeds which contains veterinary drugs or hormones contrary to this section and anyone found doing so shall be held liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred currency points (Shs4M) or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both.

Government also proposed that in addition to the penalty provided above, Court may order for the destruction of the animal feeds that contains veterinary drugs or hormones, at the expense of the importer or producer of the animal feeds.

With the enactment of the Animal Feeds Act, stakeholders in Uganda’s agricultural sector anticipate a positive shift towards improved livestock productivity and enhanced industry standards.

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