The Ugandan government, through the country’s National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC&DB) has hired experts to help in improving animal breeding in the country. This is with a view to improve animal genetics. The minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Ssempijja urged Ugandan farmers to embrace modern, commercial breeding systems.
The minister went on to add that the venture will be of significant benefit to the farmers who, according to him, have been looking after animals that do not reward them much. As such, the initiative will get the farmers animals that give returns in terms of enough milk and meat. This will also enable them to get better income.
Minister Ssempijja also stressed the importance of healthy competition for the farmers in terms of output. He further encouraged them by mentioning other countries such as Kenya, Botswana South Africa and Egypt who are already miles ahead in improved breeding.
Dr Charles Lagu, the Executive Director, NAGRC&DB explained that they are rolling out a community breeding program. The purpose of this program is to ensure they deepen community breeding. This will serve not only to improve on indigenous breeds but will also enhance milk production and high quality animals for meat.
Dr. Lagu also made a positive observation that 90 per cent of their animals are indigenous. However, despite their being good in disease resistance, these animals are below quality. As such, the improved technology will come as an advantage to the communities. He was however quick to add that there will still be sections to keep local breeds. This, he said, is with a view to preserve their indigenous breeds.
In the meantime, the centre continues to lobby for support from government to increase funding to support the initiative. According to Dr. Lagu the funding will go towards training of staff, importing good genetic material, semen, embryos and building infrastructure in all the regions. It is estimated that with better breeds production will increase from 150kg to over 400kg carcass weight, and milk will increase from the current 10 litres per day to 25-30 litres per cow in a day. Furthermore, the growth rate will be faster, down from five to one and half years to maturity with improved breeds.