Selected farmers from nine districts in central region are to receive free quality livestock breeds and poultry under the Lusenke Livestock Transformation Project (LULITRA), Dr Charles Lagu, the director of National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC&DB), has revealed.
The Shs12 billion project, Dr Lagu said, would benefit farmers in Kayunga, Luweero, Nakaseke, Buikwe, Mukono, Buvuma, Nakasongola and Wakiso districts. He explained that the project that started in July, would last for five years until June 2024.
He was speaking on Tuesday during a meeting with locals and Kayunga District leaders at Lusenke Stock Farm.
The meeting was intended to brief them about the project and how they can benefit from it.
“The beneficiary farmers will first undergo training and will be given free quality livestock breeds such as goats, cows, piglets and poultry birds,” Dr Lagu said.
He added that, LULITRA seeks to establish Lusenke Stock Farm, which is in Busaana Sub-county, in Kayunga District as a centre of excellence, to among other aspects, support the surrounding communities with quality livestock breeds as well as build their capacity to serve demonstration farms in animal production and farm management.
He further noted that by the end of the project, people’s lives, especially smallholder livestock farmers, would be transformed through improved livestock production and productivity.
“Already a hatchery to hatch 30,000 chicks a day is here,” Dr Lagu revealed.
He also added that a training facility would be established at Lusenke Stock Farm to train extension workers and livestock farmers.
The Ntenjeru North MP, Mr Amos Lugolobi, who is also the chairperson of the parliamentary Budget Committee, advised residents to take advantage of the facility to fight household poverty.
“You should concentrate on fighting poverty and stop politicking,” Mr Lugoloobi said.
While agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s economy and employs more than 65 per cent of Ugandans and feeds more than 80 per cent of country’s industries with raw materials, most farmers practice it without any training, something that has limited their opportunities of transiting from subsistence farming to large scale merchandised commercial agriculture.
Currently, government is implementing Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) where beneficiaries receive free farm implements, but the programme has faced many challenges with some soldiers spearheading the distribution of farm implements accused of supplying seeds that fail to germinate and cows that are unproductive.
While presiding over the 54th independence celebrations in Luuka District in October 2016, President Museveni observed that nearly half of the 122 million coffee seedlings government had distributed to farmers countrywide had dried up due to unfavourable weather conditions.
Government has since 2013 given households more than 30 million fruits seedlings, tea seedlings as well as banana suckers, dairy heifers, cassava stalks, piglets and chicken as select enterprises under the OWC scheme.
In January, OWC officials revealed that they were in a process of changing the current strategy under which farm inputs will be given directly to individual farmers to a new system where the inputs will be distributed to farmer groups.
According to OWC, this will enable farms to get higher yields and foster value addition of agricultural produce.