By Martin Kanyegirire
When Moses Sabika, a resident of Namayumba in Wakiso district, joined Bubusi Dairy Farmer’s Cooperative Society Ltd, it was because he desperately needed a job that would generate income for his family.
And every time he went to buy dairy feeds for his cattle, he would be given adulterated ones.
Today, Sabika has solved both problems in one go. He has not only increased his income, but also encourages his peers to join organised dairy farmer businesses to benefit from accessible extension services that would improve quality, production and access to markets.
On grounds of achievements such as Sabika’s, Gen. Salim Saleh, the former micro-finance minister, challenged smallholder dairy farmers in Namayumba, to improve their household incomes through small-scale, high-value diary production, among other activities.
Speaking to a group of farmers recently at the launch of the first farmer-owned dairy feed mill in Namayumba, Wakiso district, Saleh, the chief guest, said many people can benefit if they ventured into livestock farming even at a domestic level.
The retired army general also asked farmers to spur development in the area by supporting the feed mill instead of travelling long distances for feeds.
BUBUSI Dairy Cooperative, which is a traditional market hub and Namayumba Integrated Farmers’ Association (NIFA) formed a joint venture called the Busiro, Bulemezi and Singo Farmers’ Association (BUSIFA) to set up and operate a new feed enterprise. The venture, jointly facilitated by National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) and the East Africa Dairy Development project, has yielded the construction of the feed mill.
The dairy ration recipes, which are based on locally available crop residues, such as wheat bran, cotton seed cake and dairy premix, among others have been developed.
The feed mill, which has a production capacity of 10 tonnes per day, will produce dairy meals in varying quantities that will be fairly priced so that all farmers can afford the feeds. The mill is, however, expected to expand its production in the future to produce feeds for all kinds of livestock and domestic birds.
The mill has brought a lot of relief to the farmers, who in the past have had to travel over 30km to the urban centres to procure a not-so-cheap “share” of dairy meal.
“At least the distance we’ve been travelling to purchase feeds has been greatly shortened. This will boost my production of milk since the prices too have reduced,” Eric Sewanyana, a farmer expressed his gratitude.
At the commissioning of the mill, the East Africa Dairy Development country manager, William Matovu, called for increased private-public partnerships to help develop the diary industry.
“We laud our partners NAADs for joining us in this enterprise that will ensure sustainable production of essential dairy concentrate to supplement daily fed rations on small holder farms,” Matovu said.
He urged farmers to ensure proper animal nutrition as a means of boosting their productivity.
Saleh, who earlier as a minister condemned the work of NAADS, commended the Government agricultural programme for partnering with East Africa Dairy Development to build a dairy feed mill to benefit locals in Namayumba and the neighbouring areas.
This new business venture will boost milk yields for the farmers as a result of improved nutrition and consequently will impact positively on their milk incomes.
The shareholders of the co-operative are also expecting to earn greater dividends from the profits made by the mill.
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Farmers get solution to high feeds costs