The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Frank Tumwebaze, has flagged off the distribution of 540 in-calf heifers to youth leaders at the local government councils.
This was in fulfilment of the 2021 campaign pledge when the President met the youth leaders to discuss issues affecting them.
In fulfilment of the pledge, the Government, through the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), procured the first batch of 540 in-calf heifers worth sh1.5b targeting 540 youth leaders in 135 districts, 11 cities and 56 municipalities.
In each district and city, three youth council members were selected as beneficiaries.
They include the chairperson of the district/ city youth council, the secretary for finance and the secretary for women’s affairs. At the municipality level, the distribution of the heifers will begin with the chairpersons of the division/municipality youth council.
While flagging off the distribution of the heifers, Tumwebaze advised the beneficiaries to manage the animals, saying it was enough start-up that the Government had given them to improve their household incomes.
State minister for animal industry Bright Rwamirama implored the beneficiaries on proper management of dairy cows, saying, “they can only give you what you have invested in them”.
He said if the animals were well-fed and cared for, they would give the youth more milk.
The chairperson of the National Youth Council, Jacob Eyeru, commended the Government for fulfilling the presidential pledge. He asked for full implementation by ensuring that all the 18 youth leaders in every district receive the heifers in accordance with the pledge.
“I thank the Government for availing the 540 heifers first for the three youth leaders in each district. It’s my prayer that resources are availed to NAADS to ensure that the remaining heifers are procured and all the 18 youth leaders benefit,” Eyeru said.
Maguta Byabutaho, the chairperson of Kazo district Youth Council, who received an in-calf heifer at Kiruhura district headquarters, pledged to take good care of it to increase his household income and become a model to the youth in his district.
Grace Kazigati, an agri-business development officer with NAADS, said all the beneficiaries of the 540 heifers were trained in dairy cattle management.
During the training, the youth leaders were equipped with the knowledge, skills and information required to manage dairy cattle projects effectively and to orient their mindset towards farming as a business.
Delivery and distribution of the heifers to the youth leaders have commenced in all the 176 beneficiary districts.
Tumwebaze also advised the youth to take advantage of the Parish Development Model and produce-quick maturing crops to improve their lives.