MUARIK hosts the 5th Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic on Dairy Farming.
Participants being taken through the practical aspects of Dairy farming at MUARIK
- About 1000 participants attend.
- Experts drawn from Makerere University, public and private institutions
- Butambala RDC Fred Bamiwine applauds Makerere and demand for district based Farm clinics
Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) on 1st October hosted the 5th Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic focusing on Dairy farming. The training attracted about 1000 participants comprising of practicing and prospective farmers, dairy processors, businessmen and suppliers of Agro-input dealers.
The function was officially opened by the Principal College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences represented by the Director MUARIK, Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa.
Prof. Tukamuhabwa welcomed participants to the Makerere University and particularly MUARIK. He informed participants that the institute is mandated to carry out research, and training including production and management aspects such as poultry, dairy, piggery, crop s and forestry and horticulture.
The Director explained that besides being a point of call for many farmers who wish to start commercial farming , the institute conducts teaching and research of the post graduate programmes and has excelled in a number of projects including the soybean breeding and the banana tissue culture production.
He disclosed that MUARIK was exploring partnership with various public and private institutions to take advantage of the resources and facilities available to address the country’s needs in agricultural sector.
“We have partnered with the Daily Monitor Newspaper to organise this Farm Clinic on Dairy for farmers in different districts. As a University we are grateful that you chose MUARIK as a training facility for technical expertise and knowledge transfer to society. We also thank you for choosing to partner with us, mobilising farmers and sponsors”. Prof. Tukamuhabwa urged participants to take advantage of the training to learn and network and declared the training open.
The training is a partnership between MUARIK and the Daily Monitor Newspaper Publication sponsored by subscriptions (shs.70,000 per participant) and supported by institutions such as Post Bank, the Daily Monitor, MTK, Seeds of Gold International and suppliers of agro inputs who also mount an exhibition during the training .
This is the second time MUARIK is hosting the Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic. The first training which focused on poultry farming attracted 1,200 participants on 7th May 2016.
The Ag. Farm Manager MUARIK Mr. Julius Peter Ahangana described the 5th Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic on Dairy as colourful and, more reaching pledging that the institute’s commitment to host more Farm clinics including one on coffee and its value chain .
MUARIK Ag. Farm Manager, Mr. Ahangana Peter Julius
Mr. Ahangana said Farm clinics are organized basing on the farmers challenges and demands in the quest to fulfil the mandate of the institute. MUARIK is an Agricultural Research Institution owned by Makerere University. It is being managed as a multi-disciplinary facility for training, research, outreach and production under the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
“The Farm clinics are organized based on research and survey. We ask farmers what their challenges are and what they want to learn. We get back and organize ourselves, identify relevant expertise to deliver the training”, The Farm Manager stated.
Mr. Ahangana observed that most farmers lacked awareness and basic skills on feeds, accessibility and best feeding practices and end up using adulterated feeds. The other challenge farmers face according to the Farm manager was not embracing the issue of upgrading their herd through practices such as Artificial insemination, general hygiene and financial management practices.
“ This Dairy clinic is embracing all aspects. We are looking at four major aspects namely Dairy husbandry, Economics of managing the diary animals, Breeding, Feeding and feeding regimes and Dairy health”, Mr. Ahangana said.
One group of farmers sitting in the Feed mill taught on Feeding
The participants were grouped into rotational locations and trained in different aspects focused on dairy farming and essential ingredients of dairy nutrition (feeds and feeding), economics of management (husbandry), breeds, milk and milk production, pests and disease control and value addition among others.
The Daily Monitor Newspaper Marketing Manager Ms Sarah Nalule, said the farm clinic was help farmers how to do Dairy farming as a profitable business.
“Our farmers who are already in practice or aspiring to be dairy farmers will get first-hand information on best practices from dairy farming experts and veterinarians. And this is going to be more than the traditional training as farmers will get knowledge in all areas of modern dairy farming right from the farm to the market,” Ms Nalule said.
Another group of farmers in a separate location learning the Economics of dairy management
Makerere University offered varied agricultural and veterinary specialists including Dr. Constantine Bakyusa Katongole from the Department of Agricultural Production and Dr Stephen Lwasa from the Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics. Other experts who offered the training were Dr. Dan Ssemambo, an animal scientist at the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC & DB), Dr. Christopher Bbosa, a development expert, Dr. Richard Wanyama and Dr. Brian Arinaitwe who are veterinary doctors from Heifer International.
Dr. Constantine Bakyusa Katongole handled the aspect of Nutrition, Health and Management particularly the effects of nutrition on milk production, the health of the dairy cow and the calf. He emphasized the impact of feeding on reproduction and profitability advising farmers to prioritize feeding as a big success factor in dairy farming.
Dr. (in blue coat) Constantine Katongole interacts with participants on nutrition, health and management
Dr. Dan Ssemambo trained participants on Dairy breeds and breeding. He mainly focused on types breeds and their attributes, how to develop a breeding program, common problems and key considerations in breeding. He also taught farmers on Artificial insemination, how to identify a pregnant cow and breed selection among others.
Dr Richard Wanyama handled the aspect of Zero (Stall) feeding covering the housing, feeding and watering troughs, drainage and hygiene in the milking parlor among others. He advised farmers to maintain good hygiene and seek veterinary services from qualified personnel.
On free range system, Dr. Christopher Bbosa explained the importance of a water sources, fencing the farm, having high quality pastures and feeding rations.
Dr. Brian Arinaitwe covered the aspect of milking practices and Mastitis, a disease that affects milk production and the dairy industry as a whole. He demonstrated how to test for mastitis and preventive and control measures while Dr. Lwasa Stephen went through the aspect of Economics of Dairy Farming.
Participants speak out
Participants were treated to theory and practice of Dairy farming spiced with practical demonstrations and exposed to different agro-inputs at the show.
Dr. Bamwine Fred who is the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Butambala district and a practitioner of zero grazing in Kyanja Nakawa division in Kampala said he was excited to have reached the university farm for the first time.
“I think Makerere University has broken the silence by networking with practical people in the field doing farming. So far, we have covered zero grazing in terms of how to improve yields, record keeping and how to manage a farm and control diseases to ensure high returns on the farm”, RDC Bamwine said.
RDC Bamwine(L) during the training at MUARIK
Bamwine further said that the most critical benefit from farm clinic were the practical demonstrations of being able to detect a disease and how to effectively improve yields by feeding the cows.
“The only message is for anyone who has time to come and learn at Kabanyolo. Kabanyolo should extend such clinics to districts. Most people in farming are gambling and under God’s mercy. As an RDC, I must organize a Farm clinic and take these experts to interface with the local people to improve dairy production. Given the rising population, this is the way we can improve production and contribute to vision 2040 of transforming Uganda into a middle class economy ”. He said,
RDC Bamwine noted that although Uganda is the Pearl of Africa gifted by nature with fertile soils and favorable weather conditions, the low application of the technical expertise has led to low productivity.
“One of the problems is how to effectively manage and supervise workers. I have learnt that we should stop farming through telephone and rumour mongering. We should physically supervise workers and give them tasks and follow them through to ensure work has been done”, He went on to say that:
“The second aspect I have learnt is the issue of ingredients required to feed a cow to give high yields and third, I learnt that record keeping and management is the basis for financial attraction, and a basis to know that what you are doing is something for commercial and not leisure”.
One of the exhibitors brought the milking machine that can use both electricity and fuel
Mr. Kajanazo Bosco, a farmer from Kamuli district sponsored by Heifer International said, the Farm clinic had raised his awareness in different aspects of dairy farming.
“ I have enjoyed so much. I have been green about feeding dairy animals. I have been thinking of buying a big piece of land to start farming. But I have learnt that even without a big piece of land, you can be a farmer through zero grazing. I have learnt how to select animals and factors to consider. If I can grade myself, I came when I was at 40% but now, I am at 80%.
Dr. Arinaitwe Bosco one the trainers from Heifer International of the East Africa Dairy Development project was convinced the training had build the capacity of farmers to some level.
“We have trained farmers how to avoid mastitis both clinical and subclinical. This is a very important disease in Dairy farming because it has a bigger economic impact and reduces milk production by 10-40%. We taught farmers to have a plan of controlling mastitis and ensure good management and hygiene practices”. Dr. Arinaitwe said.
Dr. Arinaitwe further said that he had observed that many farmers were living in losses and unproductive due to subclinical mastitis.
MUARIK is an Agricultural Research Institution owned by Makerere University. It is being managed as a multi-disciplinary facility for training, research, outreach and production under the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
As part of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS), MUARIK carries out research based on national priorities. The research thrusts of MUARIK have been on development of improved farming techniques, agro-processing and value addition, marketing and production efficiency, and appropriate technology.
The Institute offers on-spot technical advice to the farming community. It is a point of call for many farmers who wish to start commercial farming or improving on their farming and/or procure planting materials and animal breeding stock and thus MUARIK provides field extension services to such farmers.
Outreach activities currently mainly focus on schools and farmers who visit the institute for various issues. For example in a year over 600 primaries, secondary, and tertiary schools with a total population of about 30,000 visit MUARIK. The institute has hosted students for industrial training from Arapai and Bukalasa Agricultural colleges. Centenary Community College, Ssesse, Narozari, Mbuye and Rwampara Farm Schools and Busoga University
The institute undertakes production of a wide range of crops and livestock. Although these units are primarily for commercial production, they are used to teaching, research and outreach activities.
Formal practical training for undergraduates is carried out at MUARIK during the recess term of first year and in third year to enable them acquire relevant hands on farming experience in various animal and crop husbandry, extension skills, machinery, equipment and farm management aspects. The aspects covered include production and management areas such as broilers, layers, dairy, pigs, cereals, legumes, coffee, vegetables and banana production.
Report compiled by;
Communication Officer, CAES