What you need to know:
- Being a government agency charged with livestock farming and production in the country, NAGRC&DB was approved by the cabinet to play a strategic role in the operationalization of the proposed intervention.
According to a government report, by December 2022, a fraction of 12 Square Miles of land had already been cleared within nine government ranches manned by the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC&DB) for large-scale animal feed production as part of government intervention aimed towards ensuring food and animal feed security.
This followed the cabinet’s approval of the proposed intervention plan tabled by the agriculture ministry’s top committee which aimed at the production of strategic food commodities to guarantee food and animal feed security in the country.
On July 13, 2022, the Agriculture Minister, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, in his letter addressed to President Museveni expressed the need for deliberate intervention to boost food security in the country following widespread hunger mostly in the Karamoja region, responding to the same letter on the following day of August 14, 2022, President Museveni approved Hon Tumwebaze’s plan directing the concerned officials to take immediate action by supporting identified entities with necessary requirements.
Being a government agency charged with livestock farming and production in the country, NAGRC&DB was approved by the cabinet to play a strategic role in the operationalization of the proposed intervention.
The entity was tasked with boosting the production of maize and soya beans using 30,000 acres of land which is simply a fraction of land that the agency holds under its custody considering its vast ranches distributed in all agroecological zones of the country.
According to the agency’s statement, their target is to plant 5646 acres of maize grain, 1329 acres for maize silage production, and 600 acres of soya bean totaling up to 7575 acres, holding factors constant, upon harvest, the agency expects to reap about 7,904 metric tons of maize grain, 9303 metric tons of maize silage and 288 metric tons of soya bean.
Once these harvests undergo processing and value addition, the agency will have the capacity to produce over 290,000 bags of maize grain and corn silage for animal feeds, with each bag weighing up to 50kgs, the agency will be able to earn over Shs7.2 billion if it decides to sell each bag at a farm gate price of Shs25000.
The government has also embarked on modernizing and capacity building on all its ranches to enhance their efficiency having faced devastating civil strife and political turmoil that led to the loss of livestock and destruction of infrastructure.
Among other activities that the agency has undertaken in line with the implementation of the food security directive is the installation of modern agriculture mechanization techniques to enable bush clearing, boom spraying, effective harvest, and post-harvest handling of the animal feed.
Taking Kasolwe stock farm in Kamuli district as an example, the government has been able to put in place grain storage facilities with a capacity to process and store up to 3000 mega tones and 288 mega tonnes of both maize and soya bean respectively, additionally, a warehouse for appropriate storage of animal feeds has been installed on the same ranch.
Famine has been on the rise, according to government statistics, eight in every 10 households in Karamoja are food insecure. This has been mainly due to massive crop failure as a result of a long dry spell that severely affected both humans and livestock.
It’s widely considered that addressing the hunger challenge is an equation, to ensure food security among households, one must also emphasize animal feed security given that the majority of households depend on livestock as a source of income and animal protein.
MrSteven Akabwayiis a communications practitioner.