By Abdulkarim Ssengendo
As the world continues to celebrate Dairy Month (June), farmers in Ankole and other cattle corridor districts have been advised to invest in pasture growing and storing for their animals.
The call was made by agriculture experts who believe the move if embraced by all farmers will save the farmers the hustle of walking long distances in search of pastures during the dry season
According to dairy performance report for the year 2021/2022 released by DDA shows that the country’s milk production rose significantly to 3.2 billion litres in 2021/2022 from 2.8 billion litres in the financial year 2020/2021
Experts said the figure could double if all farmers can embrace the growing of improved pasture and stored to feed their animals especially during dry season when there is scarcity of feeds
Dr.Peter Kyokwijuka the farm manager of Kiruhura based Ruhengyere Government ranch- said every farmers emphasis should be placed on providing good proper feeding for their animals throughout year as this will help to increase milk production and productivity
He noted that farmers miss out during dry season when prices of milk are comparatively high
The experts insists that improvement of animal nutrition through controlling feed resources available is major factor farmers should concentrate on to increase livestock productivity
Pastures are the cheapest source of feed for ruminant animals which are particularly valuable because of their ability to convert all types of forages, roughages and crop by-products into products which are useful to man that’s is milk, meat, hides and skins etc
Therefore, ruminant livestock production can be increased through increasing the productivity of existing resources or through the introduction of new resources
Farmers are also advised to use paddocking as another good means to preserve pasture
But these experts advised farmers to always remove poisonous plants from their farms that have toxic capability to harm their animals
Dan Mukago Rutetebya- chairman Kiruhura district said pasture improvement is needed at all levels including at people’s farms. He said his district has 410000 cattle producing between 800000-1200000 litres of milk during the rainy season but this goes down to 500000-800000 litres during the dry season. Mukago said litres should grow up if farmers are supported to grow pastures
Uganda currently produces 3.2 billion litres of milk but experts say this would increase if farmers can invest in growing and storing pastures for their animals
Speaking to Urban TV, the state minister of agriculture in charge of the animal industry government targets to hit 3.5 billion litres by December this year. Rwamirama challenged all Ugandans to start consuming their own milk saying this will grow domestic market for milk
Minister Rwamirama was concerned about low milk consumption which is standing way below WHO’s recommended per capita of 200 litres and challenged all Ugandans to love their product. Rwamirama said milk consumption is as below at 60 litres per person.