Reflex Eco Group – Uganda News
by Stephen Otage (Local Journalist)
The Makerere University College of Veterinary and Animal Science and Bio-security has started a commercial animal feeds production program for farmers as a strategy to create jobs along the veterinary value chain.
The introduction of the hay production program comes at a time when farmers are grappling with inadequate animal feeds supply because of unpredictable weather which causes scarcity of animal feeds especially during prolonged dry spells. Hay is a popular form of animal feed comprising mainly of dried grass. When well-managed, it has the capacity to boost milk and beef production among dairy farmers. The technology which is coming to Uganda for the first time is being introduced through the Vocationalization of Animal Services Education Sector program run by the African Institute for strategic animal resources services and development (AFRISA) project.
The program comes a year after the introduction of the Afrisa project. According to Professor David Kabaasa the dean of the college, the project is meant to address animal management and nutrition needs that farmers suffer due to ignorance of the underlying causes of low milk and beef production, as well as create full time jobs and enterprises for the farmers and youths.
“People despise agriculture because they think it is not a business. Hay production alone is a serious business. Our cows currently produce 5 liters of milk a day but imagine if you increased this to 20 per day by introducing good feeds, what would you expect!” he lamented.
He said it was a shame that Somalia–an arid country which Uganda trained in the 1990s in dairy and beef management, now beats Uganda in beef exports to the Middle East where it sells 5million heads of cattle annually compared to Uganda the trainer.
While launching the program at Kyamukama Village Nakitooma Parish in Nakasongola district on Monday, the agriculture Minister Bright Rwamirama acknowledged that animal nutrition is a challenge Uganda has grappled with for a while yet the skills were hidden in Makerere University. “I visited a cooperative in Netherlands with 1,200 which produces 50,000 liters of milk per day and another in Serbia with 380 cows producing 13,500 liters of milk daily this means there is no money in town but here in the villages,” he told the farmers.
Uganda’s dairy sector has suffered many setbacks right from the 1980s when the Uganda dairy corporation started falling apart due to mismanagement.
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