By Robert Ariaka
The National Agricultural Research Organization NARO through its Abi Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute in Arua has launched a three-year project for the Catalyzing Goat value chain.
The project will help to increase climate resilience, incomes and assets of smallholder farmers and urban youth in the West Nile region. The project will be implemented by Abi ZARDI with her partners from 2023 to 2024 covering the three districts of Arua, Nebbi and Madi Okollo.
During the stakeholder’s inception meeting on April 4, 2023 at Abi ZARDI in Ayivu Division Arua City, Moses Kebrin the member of Advisory Committee at Abi ZARDI observed a huge fight between animal farmers and crop farmers in West Nile.
“During Dry Season, animals are left to feed on free range and destroy crops. There is a need to resolve this fight to ensure the animals and crop farmers and their agricultural products coexist” Kebrin said.
He calls for the need to build a critical mass to change the West Nile region through advocacy for success. According to Kebrin, a handful of government projects in West Nile have failed because of the negative attitude and mindset of the people.
Why Goat value chain.
The farmers are advised to understand the importance of managing goats in the right way through addressing the issue of shelter, pasture and treatment. The research has a mechanism of community based breeding which will change the method of goat rearing in the region.
Kebrin observed that goats in West Nile are small, weighing from eight to 10kgs to maximum 15kgs which are not good for better commercial farming. The research will increase the kilograms of goats from 15kgs to 40kgs through massive and proper feeding.
The research will help farmers select goats which are good in size and allow them to mate and destroy the small goats to improve the quality of the goats and promote better breeds.
This will be boosted with treatment and better care for the animals to have huge better quality meat.
Kebrin advises farmers to provide plant feeds for their animals and provide clean water sources to protect animals from drinking contaminated water.
“Animals should drink enough water for their better health and allow them to drink anytime they want while feeding. If it means cutting the grass and feeding the goats, it will improve their health” he said.
Farmers who will benefit are those already raring goats with focus on groups who will get a complete package. They will be trained on identifying the right sizes of goats and allow them to mate and isolate the small goats.
Dr. Kamatara Kanifa a lecturer and livestock production specialist, meat science and food security at Makerere university calls for West Nile Meat Carnival to showcase various methods the people of West Nile use in preparing meat.
Citing the example of muchomo commonly known as Geria in West Nile where the goats’ meat is chopped into small pieces and roasted on a frying pan made out of drum mixed with ingredients makes the meat soft and sweet.
This is done in most towns and trading centers along the highways in West Nile for easy access by customers. Geria now is being absorbed by most hotels in the region.
Kanifa also advised on the need to have better means of meat processing, preservation and packaging to have decent and smart delivery to customers.
Moses Odims Akuma, the Executive Director West Nile Development Association WENDA implores the people of West Nile to work hard and come out of the poverty stricken situation.
“West Nile is in deep poverty and we need to turn the frustration into better progress for development. It is possible and we can come out of poverty” Akuma said.
Malon Avutia, the Mayor Ayivu Division in Arua City wants leaders to be exemplary in farming for their electorates to learn and change. “If we are not leading by example, how do you expect the people to adopt these ideas” Avutia asked.