Food security for both human and animals has received a boost after the government agency charged with livestock-National Animal Genetic Resources and Data Bank (NAGRC&DB) decided to embark on an ambitious project to increase maize, corn silage and soya bean production.
Cabinet chaired by Gen. Museveni recently adopted a paper presented by the ministry for agriculture, animal industry and fisheries. The paper sought to highlight proposed interventions that needed to be undertaken to increase food security in the country not only for humans but also for livestock.
This paper was adopted by cabinet and it’s now the basis upon which NAGRC& DB is expanding it’s involvement in Maize and soya bean farming to ensure steady availability of mainly livestock feeds in the country.
This development comes at a time when livestock farmers are complaining of high prices for feeds characterized with poor quality brands. The rise in the prices for feeds has forced several of them to quit the business as they make losses.
With NAGRC&DB having vast farms and ranches across the country, the agency is looking at utilizing 30000 acres of this land to boost food security.
“The management of NAGRC DB has since engaged in large scale maize grain, corn silage and soya bean production while utilizing up to 12sqm of land at it’s different ranches. The agency is looking at planting 5646 acres of maize grain, 1329 for maize silega and 600acres for soya bean making a total of 7575 acres or (12sqm)” says the agency.
Of these acres, at Maruzi ranch based in Lango subregion, NAGRC DB is looking at utilizing 3sqm or 1900 acres.
In Kasolwe Livestock farm located in Kamuli-Busoga, the entity originally looked at utilizing 620 acres but ended up utilizing 650acres representing 0.97sqm.
At Lusenke stock farm in Kayunga district, the target is 1900acres of land (3sqm) while at Ruhengyere field station, 640 acres or 1sqm has been targeted.
At Sanga field station in Kiruhura district, the target is 320acres or a half a square mile, Nshaara ranch 3200 acres or 5sqm, Rubona stock farm 227 acres and Gwot Apwoy ranch 3200 acres or 5sqm targeted.
On all these ranches, NAGRC&DB has already started work. The agency is looking at a harvest capable of producing 7904 metric tons of maize grain, 9303 metric tons of maize silage and 288 metric tons of soya bean making an anticipated harvest of 17,496 metric tons.
With Dr. Peter Beine at the whelm as executive director, NAGRC&DB says of these anticipated yields, 16,091 metric tons will go towards boosting animal feed production while 1,404 metric tons of soya bean and 1,317 metric tons of maize grain will be reserved as seedlings for future replanting.
The plan according to the Entebbe-based agency is to have 290,000 bags of maize grain and corn silage with each weighing 50kgs totaling to 14495 metric tons. With each bag expected to sell at Shs25000 at farm gate, NAGRC DB will fetch a total of Shs7.25bn should it decide to sell it off. In case it doesn’t and chooses to use this mega harvest to feed government livestock at it’s ranches, it would save governmnent that same amount of money.
However, to have all this program actualized, NAGRC&DB has had to carry out preparatory work which included bush clearing, tilling of the sites, planting and appropriate application of fertilizers. Other areas of investments by the agency included appropriate mechanisms for post harvest handling to ensure that harvested maize and soya is cleaned up, dried up and safely stored at it’s various facilities at the 9 farms. The last area of investment by NAGRC&DB has been on value addition or processing of the grain into compound animal feeds ready to be given to livestock.
At Kasolwe Livestock farm for example, NAGRC&DB now has capacity to dry/process and store up to 3000 metric tons of maize grain while for soya bean there’s a plan to have 288 metric tons stored here in order to facilitate animal feed production at this farm. NAGRC DB has got a state of the art Animal Feed unit at this farm, a Silage store among other various units including a warehouse for the storage of the produced feeds. Watch this space!