SCIENCE: The National Animal Genetic Resources and Data Bank – NAGRC&DB has made great strides in the past one year, revitalizing the up country ranches and promoting further the need to have more cattle with value addition and goats.
Last year, the Minister for Agriculture in charge of Animal Industry Col. Bright Rwamirama said, there was need to further bring to speed better farming methods and make NAGRC&DB more active as it keeps up its mandate to make Uganda’s Animal Industry thrive further.
Rwamirama said, many of the staff at the National Animal Genetic Resources and Data Bank had to start engaging in looking after the government ranches interacting with farmers all the time. “I need to see you in Kayunga, Soroti helping farmers and looking after the ranches in the different localities,” Rwamirama said.
However, one year later, the Animal Genetic Resources Center and Data Bank is on a path way to success. The institution has multiplied the number of animals at the different ranches, protected land that was at a point of no return while also, better breeds of animals are being produced.
Farming households now receive artificial insemination services from NAGRC&DB technicians all the time and this has increased the productivity of livestock thus increasing household incomes.
Also, less land resourced Farmers across the country have been supported by NAGRC&DB with dual purpose chicken for both egg and meat poultry production.
The institution has also been giving out oxen and bulls for ploughing to help farmers further engage in better agricultural practices.
With such better incentives, the country now boasts of having 16 million heads of cattle, 25% of which is for dairy production while the rest is for beef production. Currently, several incentives are in place to influence an investment decision into the rearing of cattle, including those that enable private public partnerships with Agriculture as a priority.
Agriculture as a sector has exemptions on import duty, exports are also tax exempt save for hides and skins. “The investment here in agricultural inputs and machinery is zero tax levy. So that alone gives us mileage. But also, another incentive that is here is that; we have very good climate. We get rain throughout the year.” Says Bright Rwamirama, the Minister of State in Charge of Animal Industry.
Government of Uganda established the National Animal Genetics Resources Center and Data Bank, to manage the breeding and conservation of these and other animal genetic resources.
In a bid to make itself ready with in-house capacity in providing high quality technical and extension services in meeting international high quality standards to ensure such agricultural investment kicks off and more productive, the institution started engaging farmers from all across the country for better yields, with better genetics of the different animals across the country.
The engagements, introduction of better breeds and technology by the National Animal Genetic Resources Center and data Bank saw an increase in Diary and animal product exports for the country fetching more than Ugx 382.2 billion in the previous financial year, an increment of 11% from Ugx 344.2 billion in 2020/2021.
The major exported products include; UHT milk, butter, casein powder, milk powder, whey protein, and cheese. These were mainly exported to the East African Community (EAC), Comesa countries, Japan, US, Oman, India and Ethiopia.
The Ankole cattle and the Mubende goats, more emphasized by the institution have brought about a surge in cattle and goat rearing for more milk, meat and cheese production.
“We have done a lot of production and increasing of our assets in Uganda. We have gone so far despite joining the business four years ago, which means, a lot of capital that came in. But I think, there is still so much potential in this country and the rest of the world needs to come and have a look,” Cecil Jansen, the Chief Operating Officer at Pearl Dairy Uganda says.
Also, several other skills, such as the veterinary works done have been exhibited by the institution to further engage the public in better methods of treating and looking after the different breeds of animals across the country.