Serere Farm Clinic to examine agribusiness enterprises

Saturday December 1 2018

An extension official (L) at the livestock

An extension official (L) at the livestock stand speaks to farmers during the last Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic in Serere District last year. Photo by Michael Kakumirizi. 

By Denis Bbosa

At the start of this year, many active and prospective farmers had big dreams of reaping from their agribusiness ventures.
Many gained, many lost but amidst all, the rotational Seeds of Gold Monitor Farm Clinics have been acting as an advisory platform towards getting high yields.

This Saturday, the last farm clinic this year commences in Serere - eastern Uganda with particular interest in the enterprises of cassava, citrus, groundnuts, cattle, sorghum, greengram, and poultry.

As several farmers descend on NaSARRI this morning, Elizabeth Namaganda, the Monitor Publications Ltd (MPL) brand manager says top on agenda will be lessons based on agricultural financing.

According to NaSARRI director, Dr Michael A. Ugen, the following enterprises will be the focal point.

Cattle production
The animal experts at NaSARRI have lined up the Watusi or Ankole long horned cows as the case study for studying the cattle superior genetics in Uganda.

The experts will provide technical expertise to livestock farmers in livestock nutrition, health and breeding plus the appropriate skills and knowledge.

They will discuss key concepts of milk production such as highest butterfat content, low Somatic Cell Count (SCC), value addition, low cholesterol beef and nutrition benefits like butter, cheese, yoghurt and milk and beef.

Goat rearing
The experts will elucidate the achievements accrued from crossbreeding Seaz goats and boar, improving meat production - small East African Zebu vs Boran crossbred plus improving traction capacity of oxen - small East African zebu vs Sahiwal.

Poultry breeding management
The experts will also teach about the theoretical and practical poultry breeding patterns, poultry diseases, parasites and prevention.

Other issues include maintenance of chicken health, characteristics of local chicken and production systems in Uganda. Mostly asked questions about the common physical features among chicken phenotypes (comb type, shank colour, skin colour and feed nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins and vitamins, minerals, water and feed additives) and feed sources will also be answered.

Calf rearing
Among other things, the introduction to calf management, goals for calf rearing, calf selection, housing, use of locally available materials, hardened floor, ventilation, roofing, wall, and drainage will be extensively covered in Serere today.
The animal experts have promised to tackle aspects such as the routine husbandry practices, vaccinations, tick control, de-worming, hygiene, identification, record keeping, hoof trimming, common diseases and control, calf scours, among others.

New trends of artificial insemination
Artificial insemination (AI) is a process by which sperm is artificially collected from the male, processed, stored, and introduced into the reproductive tract of females for the purpose of attaining conception by means other than the natural way or natural mating.

Key measures of preparing cattle for successful artificial insemination will be discussed in detail.
These include: feeding the cattle well and observing heat in breeding cows. Farmers will also get information regarding the right time to confirm a cattle on heat.
The characteristics of improved crossbred cattle such as increased birth weights, increased weaning weights at nine months, increased yearling weight at 12 months and increased pre-weaning gain will also be expounded

Increased cassava yields
Eastern Uganda farmers have been growing cassava for long and it is about time they got to know how to get high yields.
The crop experts will explain the modern cassava agronomy techniques; not planted in water logged or rocky surfaces, plough two times, stem cutting length: 20-25 cm, eight bags (each 500 stem cuttings) per acre, planting depth: 6-10 cm and spacing of 1m x 1m.

It will be explained to farmers when they will need to plant 4,000 plants per acre, ensure maturity period on 12 months and field longevity of two to three years.

Cassava is a climate resilient crop, has more than 15 industrial applications, can be stored for two to three years in the soil depending on the variety, grows well in over 80 per cent of Uganda’s arable land and its flour can be mixed with maize, sorghum, millet, soya, fish to make delicious dough.

Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic, Serere
Cassava, citrus, groundnuts, cattle, sorghum, greengram, poultry
Post-harvest handling, Value addition, Sustainable Land Management (SLM), Agribusiness Aspect and Economics
National Semi Arid Resources & Research Institute Serere (NASARRI)
Free: Breakfast & Lunch
Sponsors: The Micro Finance Support Centre Ltd, BoU, aBi & NTV