By Abdulkarim Ssengendo & Charles Okalebo
Nairobi, KENYA - Dr. John Kabila, deputy principal of Dairy Training Institution in Kenya, says proper education of farmers with good breeds is bound to improve the dairy industry in the region.
He said the Ugandan government should educate farmers on how to maintain the production levels and good quality of milk, which he reasoned would solve the problem of milk price fluctuation – a problem presently affecting farmers across the region.
Kabila, who visited different farmers in Uganda in 2006, said Uganda has a high potential of milk production, but farmers lack training and proper education on how to improve the dairy industry.
In Kenya, one litre of milk costs Ksh20 during the rainy season but triples to up to Ksh60 during the dry spell.
Kabila made the points while addressing over 80 Ugandan youth, women and PWDs during their eight-day agricultural tour in Kenya. The group visited different farms and agricultural institutions in Nairobi, Naivasha, Thika and central Kenya.
NAADS board chairman, Aggrey Bagiire, said the tour was meant to inspire the youth into intensive agriculture where they can get a lot of money and feed themselves.
Calves of Sahiwal breed at Naivasha Regional Dairy Centre of Excellence in Kenya. PHOTO/Abdulkarim Ssengendo
He said the government took up the decision to help youth after realizing many of them have shunned agriculture. He said agriculture is what most of the youth and other Ugandans feed on and is a source of income for the economy and their welfare.
Bagiire said: “We hatched the idea of taking these people to Kenya to see how their counterparts are doing intensive farming in Kenya.”
“Kenya has a lot of challenges. The soils are not fertile as that of Uganda but you go on farms and find a farmer with an animal giving 50 liters per day. This is what we want to see in Uganda.
“Youth [in Uganda] have failed to take up agriculture yet we have all the resources that even Kenya do not have. I want to tell you if we have a stable production of milk we shall have many investors.”
The group witnessed a complete system involving animals being fed, giving milk, producing cow dung, making bio-gas and how it is being used for cooking. They also visited farmers growing matooke [bananas], getting their food secure on a very small piece of land.
The NAADS boss thanked the government of Uganda, more especially President Yoweri Museveni for directing the NAADS secretariat to the youth.
NAADS chairman Dr.Aggrey Bagiire (Far-Left) takes the group through Maramba Tea Factory shamba in Nairobi. PHOTO/Abdulkarim Ssengendo
The agricultural tour to Kenya was funded by NAADS and NARO under their programs of ATASI and EAAP.
Bagiire advised Ugandan farmers to understand that the population has grown, and still is, and that the challenges are increasing as well.
According to the NADS chairman, it is vital that the mindset of farmer shifts from rain-fed agriculture to small-scale irrigation due to the changing environment.
Meanwhile Davis Akampurira, the secretary for external relations at the national youth council, observed that agriculture is a very good investment for the young people and he called upon the government to keep on supporting youth trying to start small farms.
He thanked the government for supporting the youth in agriculture but observed Ugandans especially the youth still have a mindset problem of mindset.