By Joshua Kato
The new board for the National Animal Genetics Resources Centre (NAGRC) has been tasked by the Government with working towards improving access to better technologies for livestock farmers across the country.
“Farmers out there are yearning for better genetics to improve their farms. You have to make sure that these technologies reach the farmers who need them,” Bright Rwamirama, the state minister in charge of animal husbandry, said.
NAGRC is the government body responsible for breeding and genetics collection.
Rwamirama made the remarks while inaugurating the new board at their offices in Entebbe before officiating at the handover of 100 high-quality bulls to farmers across the country.
“Even after distributing these bulls to farmers, you must make sure that they have enough feed,” he said.
Rwamirama emphasised that the institution should use its available land to grow pastures and avail them to livestock farmers.
The new board that was launched last week on Tuesday has Ben Anyama as the chairperson, Dr Bilal Cabral Kibedi, Dr Henry Mulindwa, Teddy Alako, Dr Anna Rose Ademun, Dr Herman Ssekiwunga, Dr Richard Akule, Eng. Robert Waiga Ssenozi, Anthony Raymond Epel, Sheila Mwine Kabeije, Dr Samuel Kanakulya Lubinga and Dr Peter Beine, who is also the executive director of NAGRC.
The NAGRC and data bank
The National Animal Genetics Resources Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC&DB) released 100 superior dairy breeding bulls to farmers who are members of dairy co-operatives countrywide. The bulls were sold to the farmers at subsidised rates.
Dr Beine, the executive director of NAGRC, said this is a routine programme at the centre that is conducted at all 15 animal genetic resources centres in different agro-ecological zones countrywide.
“NAGRC&DB, by a statutory instrument, the Animal Breeding Act, 2001, has a two-fold mandate: to play a leading role in the commercialisation of animal breeding activities in Uganda and to carry out development activities that enhance animal genetic improvement and productivity,” he added.
Through its flagship programme, the Community-Based Breeding Outreach Programme, NAGRC&DB has played a cardinal role in the 190% increase in milk production in the country within the last five years.
Pig and poultry farmers have also greatly benefited from the multiplication programmes of these genetics at the NAGRC&DB centres.
“These continuous animal genetic improvement efforts by the centre are aimed at realising a critical mass of resilient and highly productive dairy and meat animals within the livestock communities across the country,” Beine said.
He explained that the current batch of bulls being sold comprises pure Jersey, Ayrshire, Friesian and Simmental breeds.
The pedigree (parentage performance) of each of these bulls indicates exceptional breed traits, such as above-average milk production, high milk solids, and other important dairy traits like ease of calving, early maturing, and longevity in the herd.
PHOTO CAPTION: Rwamirama and Anyama touring the shed housing some of the bulls that were given out recently.