By Robert Ariaka
National Agricultural Research Organization NARO through its Abi ZARDI Zonal Research office Arua has identified LOWE’S Store Demo farm in Arua City to become a training center for interns and farmers in the region.
This will add to the existing agricultural institutions and farms that train farmers and interns on professional standards and modern agricultural practices.
With different best farming practices that continue to emerge through modern and local innovations to improve on the quality of animal keeping and crop production, Lowe’s Store Demo farm in Oyufi Village near Abairo falls in Oluko, Ayivu division in Arua City has been earmarked to establish the standards recommended for training and learning center.
This was during a visit and guided tour of officials from Abi ZARDI on Tuesday at the farm. The farm is established on two-acre land.
The Director at NARO- Abi ZARDI John Walakira during the tour commended the farm for the innovation displayed in making Indigenous Micro- Organisms (IMO) using locally available material.
Walakira asks the management to demonstrate an efficient system. “If a farmer or a household invests one dollar, how much will the farmer get as gains. You need to have a capacity training facility to train 20 people in one day” Walakira said.
He states that the farm should have plans to care for the animals alongside training people.
The newly established farm focuses more on piggery, goat rearing, fisheries and poultry. Walakira says that Abi ZARDI will work together with LOWE’S Stores Demo Farm for trials on various agricultural products.
“As you plan to export the products, register them with the National Drug Authority and work in Public private partnership” he advised.
He made a commitment to sign a Memorandum of Understanding MoU with LOWE’S Stores Demo farm to undertake first demonstration on technology and participatory research on IOM that need to be further investigated and have intellectual property ownership.
On the issue of agro tourism, we will ensure the place is popularized and help promote agro-tourism, he said. Walakira advises farms to consider inculcating the component of processing and value addition chain. Teach other people on food processing for the community in the City to learn.
Agro processing and marketing is very key for such a farm with a proper way of exporting the products to South Sudan and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We have over 100 million people in West Nile, South Sudan and DR Congo who provide a market to farm products in the West Nile” Walakira said.
He calls on handling gender issues for women in such farms where the wife participates in the farm and reduces on the labour aspect.
Iwe Gerald Degu, a senior researcher of fisheries, made emphasis on the need to understand soil texture and get the correct measurement for better planning.
This will be done by the soil technician who will provide guidance on soil conservation methods and deepness of the soil. The aqua culture, the site needs to understand the water reliability during dry season to avoid dry spots.
A good feeding regime should provide the nutritional needs of pigs depending on age, weight and stage of production. Filliam Matua, the farm manager and agricultural expert says in an effort to minimize cost, the availability of nutrients, ingredients can be sought in the now expanding market to formulate meals at home. They include maize bran, cotton-seed and pre-mixed vitamins.
Matua calls for more technical guidance from NARO Abi ZARDI for better implementation and to improve the farm set up. The current undertakings at the farm will handle piggery, goat rearing, fish farming and poultry alongside crop production. This is done jointly with agro tourism to maintain nature and provide climate smart means in the farm.
Agnes Amito from Abi Zardi asks the farm management to establish structures for the goats to ensure the Mubende barks breed for cross breeding and plant more fodder for the animals to manage dry season.
Clement Peace Ejua a research officer who is the programme lead technology promotions and outreach at Abi Zardi says the farm will become a model extension farm to conduct training for their farmers and interns.
He calls for expansion and collaboration with Non-Governmental Organizations in skilling.
Violet Nyakuru, one of the managing directors at LOWE’S Stores Demo farm says the construction for the piggery and other establishments have consumed over Sh50m.
The establishment has been within one year with plans to establish an animal and crop farm. Currently, the farm produces IMO for the farmers to apply as preservatives to remove the smell from the pigs and chicken.]