District leaders in Luuka, Namutumba and Bugiri have said that the decision by National Animal Genetics Resources Center and Data Bank (NAGRC &DB) to revitalize the Kasolwe Stock Farm will greatly help promote good livestock feeds and ‘seed’ on the market.
According to the leaders, farmers are currently faced with a problem of counterfeits especially in livestock.
In Luuka district for example, the leaders led by RDC Jane Frances Kagaayi said that this challenge is making farmers lose morale in engaging in livestock farming.
“We’re very happy for Kasolwe Stock Farm. Some of us have visited it and what we have seen there is encouraging. We have been grappling with issues of counterfeit inputs. Farmers are making loses and yet they invest a lot. Kasolwe, I think will solve issues of counterfeits especially in livestock” says Luuka district veterinary officer Dr. Stephen Misiri in a meeting summoned by the senior Presidential Advisor on Busoga in charge of Poverty Alleviation Hon Florence Mutyabule. The meeting is part of the ongoing sensitization campaign by Mutyabule for district leaders in Busoga sub-region on Kasolwe Stock Farm services and products.
The same issue of counterfeit feeds was raised by leaders in Namutumba district as they underwent the same sensitization meeting.
The RDC Matende Thomas noted that farmers are faced with challenges of poor breed of cattle that are being given to them.
“The cows don’t give good quantity of milk yet the farmer puts in a lot to feed it. The cost of feeding that cow is very high yet it gives him less than 5liters of milk!” he said. The district chairman Mukisa David said that farmers are being given substandard seeds coupled with late delivery of planting materials.
“There is need for our people especially youths to get exposed. With Kasolwe now in place, that’s a great idea. Namutumba has many farmers but they lack fertilizers because the land has got exhausted. They therefore, need to integrate to include animal husbandry. Let us care for the youth and also those farmers already in farming and are biased in only crop production” District Production Officer Musita Apollo told the meeting.
The leaders in those districts also urged government to come up with regulations to govern sugarcane growing. Bugiri district speaker wondered why government looks on when people in Busoga with small pieces of land are allowed to grow canes.
“How can you allow a family sitting on one acre to grow canes? And we are looking on? How will such a family sustain itself in terms of food security? People need to be guided and where necessary some minimum force be used” the speaker said.
The leaders in Luuka suggested that canes have become a major challenge in Busoga and yet, they are not economically a viable venture.
Dr. Misiri said many farmers joined cane growing after their land became exhausted, prolonged drought, coffee wilt outbreak among others. He added that those who marketed cane growing came with a complete value chain for canes in addition offering juicy prices which have since badly gone down.
“So, our farmers who were into perennial crop production like coffee, lost for two years and got fed up and resorted to Sugarcane growing. But now, we are saying, let cane growing be regulated. We need cane growing regulated to favor livestock because if this doesn’t happen, it may be hard for us to fully utilize Kasolwe products and services” Dr. Misiri said.
In Bugiri, the DPO, Isiko Paul Moses said that the feed mill at Kasolwe will greatly help them and farmers on fish feed. He however, complained that Kasolwe Stock Farm managers need to improve on their communication.
“How can you launch a feed mill without inviting us the technical people? We were not invited” he wondered.
The district leaders also blamed Busoga’s poverty to land fragmentation, over politicking and deliberate tendencies by area leaders to keep people in poverty.
“Busoga’s problem is not leaders fearing to meet the people, but the leaders want people to remain poor so that they keep giving them handouts to keep ruling them” said Luuka DISO Bwanika noted.
The meeting was attended by the DISO, DPO, DAO, CAO, LC5 Chairperson, RDC, OWC leaders at the respective district headquarters.
They asked Mutyabule to help them inform NAGRC &DB to organize study tours for them at Kasolwe Stock Farm and she promised to deliver the request.