Wednesday August 27 2014

Isingiro farmers benefit from AI project

A veterinary doctor inseminates a cow in Ntungu

A veterinary doctor inseminates a cow in Ntungu village, Isingiro District. File photo 

By Otushabire Tibyangye

Under a livestock improvement programme in Ruhiira Millennium Villages (RMVP) project, dairy farmers will have their animals undergo artificial insemination (AI).
James Sendikaddiwa, the agriculture coordinator RMVP, says this is being done in support of improvement of local livestock, genetic base and training of technicians.
The project is worth $240,000 (Shs622m) and technical support from Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica). The Korean government, through Koica, has been supporting RMVP in areas of education, agriculture, infrastructure and health.

The project is handling training of trainers in areas of AI, livestock health management, supply of equipment: 1,000 semen vials, liquid nitrogen and tanks, pasture seeds for 30 acres, animal drugs for starters, and 10 high-grade cattle.
It will also be training of farmers, who are interested in poultry, in readiness to start poultry farming. Two experts from Korea spent two weeks in Ntungu village training people on how to carry out AI.
“So far, we have inseminated 70 cows in two weeks out of 100 targeted. We shall carry out more insemination in September,” Sendikaddiwa says.

However, he adds, the area is faced with challenges of lack of pastures, veterinary services, good livestock breeds and the general laxity of the community over dairy farming.
But he is optimistic that the situation is bound to change with the training of 40 farmers; 20 of which will be trainers of trainers.
“These farmers will also be in position to train their counterparts,” Sendikaddiwa says.
Meanwhile Park Jong Dae, the Korean ambassador to Uganda, has advised Ugandans to take up vocational training seriously especially in areas of agriculture since it is the backbone of the economy.

“If the government established an agricultural school in this area, it would go a long way to improve the livelihoods of the communities in the RMVP and beyond. It is important to teach and motivate people to stand on their own,” he said.

While touring RMVP in Isingiro, Park advised the locals of the area to take advantage of the AI experts to inseminate their animals.
He said this would improve on the genetics of the local breeds by crossbreeding with dairy pedigree animals that yield more milk.
But the area is predominantly a crop community. Sendikaddiwa says this can be handled through encouragement of private veterinary service providers to take advantage of the gap since many farmers are embracing dairy farming.

Marketing of Milk
Not to be left out, aspiring dairy farmers have come together and formed Nyakitunda Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society, which will help them market their milk and animals.
Margaret Bariyo, the chairperson, says that as individuals they would not manage to promote dairy farming hence the need for a cooperative society.

Currently, the cooperative society has 40 members but the number is set to rise as many farmers embrace dairy farming. This month, the cooperative’s members received eight in-calf heifers and are yet to get 30 more for other members.
“We are in touch with Uganda Crane Creameries Cooperative Society and we have been assured of the market for our milk. As a society, we shall buy shares in the union,” she says.