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Agriculture Ministry, PSFU and Makerere promote feedlot technology to boost livestock production in the Cattle corridor

A farm worker feeding animals in a feed lot (PHOTO /Courtesy)

Private Sector Foundation Uganda is working with for other partners including Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, to implement a project to enhance livestock production funded by the European Union and currently under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)

The project referred to as Promote Supplementary Feeding is focusing on farmers’ access to and utilization of supplementary feeds for purposes of fattening animals for the Market.

Promote supplementary feeding (Suppl-F) project is part of a European Union (EU) grant (under the 11th European Development Fund) extended to the Government of Uganda to a programme known as “Developing a Market-Oriented and Environmentally Sustainable Beef Meet Industry in Uganda (MOBIP)”.

The implementation of MOBIP lies with Directorate of Animal Resources (DAR) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). The programme awarded Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and her six partners to implement a EUR 715,299 Suppl-F project.

The partners include; Robran Holdings Limited, Livestock Development Forum, The Green Elephant –VOF, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences – Makerere University, Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited and Uganda Beef Producers Association.

The Suppl-F project expects to contribute to the achievement of MOBIP’s result area two (R2) and sub-result area 2.6 ‘supplementary feeding promoted’.

The project running for a period of 28 months from the 12th August 2019 to December 2021in the Central and Southwestern parts of the cattle corridor, in two areas formerly defined by MAAIF as Disease Control Zones (DCZ 1 & 2) and in Kampala and Wakiso for operations, is aimed at in increasing access and uptake of supplementary feeding in the districts of Kiryandongo, Kyankwanzi, Masindi, Nakaseke & Nakasongola, Lyantonde, Mubende, Kibaale, Kiruhura and Isingiro.

The Private Sector Project Manager for Promote Supplementary feeding project Mr. Daniel Ojiambo noted that about 85% of total meat marketed in Uganda comes from indigenous livestock, which thrive on natural pastures in the rangelands.

He however said, the rangeland pastures are of low quality, coupled with overgrazing and encroachment by bush or weed, drought and water shortage worsens the ability to produce quality animals in terms of growth.

In addition Mr. Ojiambo explained that, the pastures are characterized by poor yields especially in the dry season and therefore the project seeks to contribute to addressing challenges of low productivity levels, environmental threats and inappropriate responses towards climate resilience that hinder market practices, the weak market dynamics and the Gender question where women and youth are almost completely excluded from the beef value chain.

“This project is in response to the shrinking land holdings for the traditional free range system that calls for innovations to feed the animals. We are looking at a situation that our ever shrinking land holding are becoming a challenge in sustaining our way of life. For instance farming and raising animals traditionally on free range system are having a challenge of accessing land acreage as before to feed their animals.

So, we are saying, in times when land holdings shrink, then it calls for innovations to feed our animals innovatively by providing them supplementary feeds which are well preserved in terms of hay and silage where formulations are made and fed to animals”, Mr. Ojiambo explained.

Mr. Ojiambo was speaking during the farm tour at Kandi farm in Nakaseke where farmers from 10 districts of the cattle corridor are to undergo practical training on the feedlot technology.

Makerere University’s Project Principal Investigator (PI) Assoc. Professor Denis Mpairwe said the Suppl-F project is constructed around a beef Nucleus Farmer who will be supported to setup a supplementary feeding demonstration site (feedlot).

Mr. Ojiambo Daniel of PSFU during the tour at Kandi farm in Nakaseke

The PI explained that, the project will support 10 Nucleus Farmers (NF) in 10-selected district through trainings, provision of inputs and equipment to establish demonstration sites (demo sites) and handholding and every NF’s demo-site will allow two farmer groups (FGs) of approximately 10 members each, to access the demo-site, be trained in supplementary feeding Best Management Practices and facilitated to adopt and utilize the technologies.

“Each site will have a Trainer of Trainers (ToT) to train farmer group members, link farmers to supplementary feeding industry, beef and diary service providers and implementers. A relationship is expected to be built between NFs and FGs for possible collective marketing and resolving beef Value Chain challenges through their own platform known as a bazaar.

The NF will look outwards, access markets and sign supply contracts for farm products and services. The contracts will be at least 120% of their capacity to accommodate aggregate supply from smallholders. The project will support 100 women and youth to either take up business opportunities within the beef valve chain or build existing value chain businesses.

The support will include provision of Technical Assistance, linkage to quality beef and Diary service providers and business growth facilitation through participation in trade fairs or pitching events.” Prof. Mpairwe explained.

Prof. Mpairwe said, the project target beneficiaries are the Large-scale commercial beef farmers or ranchers, Small-scale beef producers organized in farmers groups or organizations, Women and youth entrepreneurs (both existing and new) along the beef value chain.

The expected outputs according to Prof. Mpairwe are to increase access to quality supplementary feeding among the beef value-chain actors and also increase participation and uptake of supplementary feeds value chain opportunities by women and youth farmer groups.

The Managing Director Robran Holdings in Wakiso District and trainer working on livestock Nutrition Mr. Brian. Natwijuka explained that in feedlotting, animals are fed indoors.

Mr. Natwijuka underscored the importance of the feedlot technology in providing the required nutrients for the desired weight gain for the market.

“We are making sure that we give the nutrients that are required for daily weight gain. This is because for the feedlot, we are looking at fattening beef animals and our major interest is on kilograms that animal is able to gain per day.

We have some animals that are adding 1.5 kg per day and some adding 1 kilogram per day. When we are making silage, we make sure that we put the ingredients considering the raw materials which can be maize, grass , potato vines or residues from maize stovers etc”, Natwijuka said.

Managing Director Robrans Holding Mr Brian Natwijuka on a tour of Kandi farm (PHOTO /Courtesy)

He said while making silage, they ensure that all the ingredients that are needed by the animal to give the desired weight are put including energy, minerals, and vitamins

“Specifically silage is very important because it is going to help us first of all to preserve the feeds. There are times when you are going to have the feeds, your nappier or maize is ready but the animals cannot feed there and then. So, you have to make sure the feed is preserved in form of silage.

When it comes to adding different ingredients (molasses, enzymes, maize brand, cassava flour etc.) the objective is to improve the quality specifically nutrients, that are found within, improving the energy and protein levels.” Mr. Natwijuka said

The second reasons for mixing different ingredients according to Natwijuka is to improve palatability ( the taste and sweetness of the feed) and, the third reason, is to increase digestibility because when the ruminants takes the feed, there is fermentation that goes on through the stomach chambers and by the time they absorb the feeds, the fermentation process has already happened.

Mr. Natwijuka added that the digestibility is high when feeds are tuned into silage and animals are able to get the required nutrients from the silage and turn those nutrients into the muscles that is wanted. For the diary animals, the animals will be turning the nutrient silage into the milk.

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