The hunger for agricultural knowledge was evident at the 14th edition of the Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic held at Bulindi Zardi in Hoima District last week.
On the eventful day, farmers started to troop at the venue as early as 7am. Some came walking from nearby villages, others on motorbikes, others rode in commuter taxis and school buses while a good number arrived in personal vehicles.
The farmers – young and old – came from as far as Kampala, Kiryandongo, Kibale, Kiboga, Nwoya, Masindi and Kabarole districts, with the weather providing a perfect environment for learning.
A look at their faces and the distance some had travelled showed the thirst for knowledge the farmers had.
Waiting to engage them were experts from Bulindi Zardi and Naro, among others, all dressed in white overcoats.
The farmers’ questions were varied, from agro-inputs to pests and diseases to farm management, soil testing, crop and livestock husbandry, market for produce and agriculture financing.
To offer the invaluable agricultural lessons were experts from Bulindi Zardi, Agricultural Credit Facility officials from Bank of Uganda, Stanbic Bank and Naro.
A group of piggery farmers from Masindi District wanted to know why their piglets never attained 100 per cent survival rate.
Dr Sylvester Baguma, the Bulindi Zardi director, started by engaging the farmers on how they keep their pigs.
Apuuli Byakagaba from Masindi District was among the attendees. His aim was to learn how to be a successful dairy farmer.
“I have been growing bananas and I wanted to begin rearing dairy cows. I was to start last year but I faced logistical challenge,” he said.
David Byenkya, an ardent reader of Seeds of Gold, travelled more than 80 kilometres from Nakasongola District, accompanied by his 15-year-old son.
Byenkya, who keeps several Friesian dairy cows on an acre, attended the event to learn more about feeding his animals.
Dr Steven Byenkya, principal research officer – animal production, at Bulindi Zardi, explained that low dairy productivity was becoming common in the region and linked it to inability of farmers to feed their animals properly.