Dairy production is one of the central components of livestock in Western Uganda. It is said to be an important source of food, and income. It also creates employment opportunities for the local population.
However, despite many farmers’ efforts to improve and reap big from the industry, the performance is still low due to a number of factors including low and inefficient dairy technology. The diary industry in the region also faces challenges related to milk quality, nutrition and feeding, cattle handling, labor efficiency, data management, etc
Thanks to the Dutch government through Aeres University of Applied Sciences, Dronten, Netherlands, for training a group of extension workers in dairy technology and ensuring that the dairy farmers envision a brighter future. The training began in May and participants graduated on 09th August, 2019 in Bushenyi town. The training was coordinated by Bushenyi Youth Development Forum (BUYODEF).
Aeres University and BUYODEF have signed a partnership to cooperate in furthering each other’s objectives and agendas by seeking collaboration in developing sustainable systems and business models, to make available the Dutch agricultural knowledge, learning, and training methodologies and materials to the Agricultural Sector in Uganda and East Africa at large, each on their own terms and conditions, mandates, and areas of expertise.
The participants were given skills in dairy economics, nutrition, value chain, marketing, and how to train farmers in a better way that can see them harvest much from the industry. They are now ready to handle dairy farming bottlenecks and also address the dairy development chain.
Sixteen trained extension workers, whose spillover effect is going to be high because of the work they are going to by training farmers will finally improve output, increase income, and consequently change the livelihoods of small holder farmers according to Dr Wasswa Mathias Luboyera, the team leader and animal health expert.
“The participants got pedagogical skills, which they will pass on to farmers and finally have a great change in the industry because of its spillover effect. The initiative came after BUYODEF identified areas that needed improvement. The money is available to many organizations as long as they have the capacity building need.” Dr Wasswa explains
He adds “This is a capacity building program and grant given to organizations that are having some activities, but they feel having some inefficiency in different areas. The program aims at building the capacity of an organization so that people are at the end able to do their work and perform their duties better.”
The participants were given certificates adding them more confidence to handle different types of clientele that will be coming their way for knowledge.
Mr Petrus Simon Tesselaar, a senior lecturer at Aeres University, who was the chief facilitator say the participants have automatically become Aeres University Alumni and the Univesity will keep organizing refresher course for them.
He explains that the training emphasized practical skills to enable the trainees be relevant to farmers.
“We are trying to be relevant to farmers and very much practical oriented and to not only transfer the knowledge, but also provide skills and attitude as well to make sure that farmers begin thinking that they can make it.” He says
Dr Speech Komugabe, one of the extension workers, who had spent long time doing things her own way, got new skills that she is going to use to shape the future of Dairy farming in the region.
“During the training, I realized that new things have come up and I cannot keep doing business as usual. For example, during the training, I found that I have been missing a lot. Now, after here, I am going to use the skills that I have acquired to make a change.” She asserted
Ms Charity Nagasha, also one of the participants said she learnt many things to do with variations in dairy industry and new knowledge on farm economics, and she is going to use the acquired knowledge to bring about change as a young farmer and extension worker.