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Why you must consider crossbreeding



Exotic baron breed bred by scientists at Aswa Ranch for the last seven years weighing 900kg. Photo by Lominda Afedraru

By Lominda Afedraru

Dairy and beef cattle production is certainly a daunting undertaking, especially for beginners, perhaps the reason many people opt for dairy farming, which they consider easy as they can readily learn from other farmers.

But just as in dairy, beef cattle production requires good knowledge and expertise.
Animal breeding technology is mainly using the traditional method but agricultural scientists specialised in livestock breeding are now sensitising farmers to use the improved methods and embracing best practices for increased productivity.

One such initiative is by experts from the National Animal Genetic Resources and Data Bank Aswa Ranch in Pader District who are breeding both local and exotic breeds.

Seeds of Gold caught up with Alex Tumuhimbise a technician working at the ranch and he shares information about good management practices which his team embraced to revamp the breeding activities at the ranch.


Tumuhimbise explains that his team is able to breed local species which are dual-purpose for milk and beef production namely Ankole long-horned cattle, the East African short-horned Zebu and Nganda.

Dairy breeds

It is the biggest dairy breed characterized to be producing the highest amount of milk with the lowest butter content. It is the most delicate with a black and white patch in the face and a white end at the tail.

It is the smallest dairy breed, brown in color or with stripes of black. It gives the least amount of milk among the dairy cows containing the highest butter content

It is brown in color with white patches. It is a big animal like a Friesian but eats less.

Beef breed
It is grey in color and very hostile. They grow very fast and can weigh up to 300 kilograms at the age of 18 months.

The team has been carrying out cross-breeding of local species with exotic ones in order to improve the health status since the local breeds have the capacity to resist diseases more than the exotic ones. Once the animals are crossbred, the commercial value will go high.

Its growth period will shorten to 2- 3 years ready for mounting. For a cow, the lactation rate will be high and it is advisable for farmers to milk the cow three times a day

Exotic breeds
Exotic breeds grow faster and in 15 months they go on heat ready for mounting. Usually, the Boran breed will weigh 860 kilograms in the growth period of four years and a farmer will be able to sell it at Shs5m.

The team has bred one such breed of Boran and Braham breed of American origin which is weighing 900 kilogrammes in growth period of seven years. It can now be sold at Shs7m.
The scientists do process semen from both the local and exotic breeds to carry out artificial insemination for cross breeding. Farmers access this service at a fee.

Feeds and nutrition
According to Tumuhimbise all animals obtain the following nutrients from feeds; proteins for growth, maintenance and energy, carbohydrates and fat for energy, Vitamins; for building the defensive mechanism against diseases, minerals for vital metabolic processes in body and skeleton, roughage for good digestion and water for cooling body and functions of cells.

This will enable fast growth and high milk production. Free-range grazing is highly encouraged through supplementary feeds are also important.
Supplementary feeds can be homemade or commercially obtained from feed dealers.

East Coast Fever
This is one of the major diseases that attacks cattle. The signs include loss of appetite, high body temperature, lowering of head, swelling of the lymph nodes especially those below the ear, standing hair and general body weakness, not active, difficult breathing and sometimes coughing.
“You can use ox tetracycline, butalex and parvexion to treat this disease,” says the agronomist.

Heart water
This disease leads is characterised by animals moving the opposite direction from the rest, then in circles with bent neck. Upon death, post-mortem shows a heavy heart and fluid around the heart. Farmers are advised to apply sulfadimidine as treatment.

The symptoms of animals infested with Anaplasmosis indicate loss of appetite, high body temperature and constipation. The cow dung will appear such as the goat droppings. This disease will also lead to the swelling of the lymph nodes and high fever. Famers are advised to use Ox tetracycline for treatment.

This disease is characterised by loss of appetite, high body temperature, and bloody urine. Farmers are advised to treat it with berenil and veriben for treating. All the above are tick bone diseases.

It is caused by tsetse flies and it leads to loss of weight but with good appetite because the animals will keep eating till the last hour.
Farmers are advised to use berenil, veriben, novidium, ethidium, veridium, samorin and diminasan for treating.
All the above can be controlled by regular use of acaricides to kill ticks and farmers are advised to buy the acaricide from reputable drug shops.

Foot and mouth
It is a viral disease and the symptoms include loss of appetite, salivation, high body temperature, vesicle wounds in the mouth, tongue, throat, and hooves, poor gait and limping. There is no drug but nursing of wounds is advisable as well as vaccinating.

This leads to swollen painful udder, high body temperature, bloody spots in the milk, sometimes pus may come out of the teats
This can be controlled by using clean milking utensils, washing hands before milking and washing the udder before milking. Farmers are advised to treat this disease with intramammary infusion.
Other diseases include Contagious Bovine Pleural Pneumonia (CBPP), brucellosis and lumpy skin.

Source: Daily Monitor

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National Coffee Forum Petitions Parliament Over UCDA Merger



Coffee stakeholders through National Coffee Forum say UCDA merger will disrupt the coffee sub-sector. Coffee is one of the leading sources of foreign exchange for Uganda

Coffee stakeholders through the National Coffee Forum – Uganda (NCF – UG) has petitioned Parliament through the Speaker over the proposed mainstreaming of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) into Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)

The government plans to merge a number of Agencies to the line Ministries in a move aimed at saving about Shs1 trillion annually. If the move succeeds, UCDA will be taken to MAAIF.

However, coffee stakeholders through NCF – UG say that they find the proposal to take UCDA to MAAIF untenable and detrimental to the coffee sub-sector.

NCF-UG is a private foundation whose membership includes farmers, processors, exporters, roasters, brewers and researchers, among others.

The Forum Chairperson Francis Wakabi says that mainstreaming the entity will negatively affect the achievements Uganda has attained in coffee production and export.

“This decision will negatively affect our access to the international market and will stunt Uganda’s economic growth opportunities by distorting the functions of UCDA that have stabilized the industry over the years,” said Wakabi in a petition dated February 21, 2024. The petition was copied in to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries as well as all MPs.

He adds that Uganda should not risk its achievements by tampering with UDCA that is the main contributor to our coffee success story.

“Mainstreaming it would therefore disrupt the many livelihoods that depend on the industry and adversely affect the badly needed foreign exchange for the country,” the petition reads in part.

As a result of UCDA coffee regulation, Wakabi says that Uganda’s competitiveness was elevated on the global market, ensuring high quality Uganda coffee and enabling Uganda’s coffee to displace that of Brazil and India in Italy and UK coffee markets.

“… World over, coffee is supervised and regulated by a specialized body like UCDA for purposes of institutional memory and specialized focus. Experience from Ethiopia and Kenya who disbanded their specialized coffee authorities and mainstreamed them back into the relevant ministries had to reverse their decisions after registering negative outcomes,” said Wakabi.

The Forum further says that the European Union (EU) buys over 60% of Uganda coffee, making it the biggest market for Uganda.

“The EU has introduced a new regulation called the EU deforestation regulations (EUDR) which bans export of coffee from deforested land, taking effect from 2025. This calls for farmer traceability and the EU commission in Uganda is already working with UCDA to implement the said regulations. They require a country to constantly monitor deforested areas and map all the farmers for purposes of implementation of the farmer traceability program to maintain a high standard of quality. It was reported that Uganda has achieved most of the requirements under the EUDR and required a few steps to be declared compliant. Monitoring and implementing the scheme for the millions of farmers is a tedious activity which requires a specialized unit that can be best implemented using the already established structures of UCDA. Disrupting the current UCDA structure will not only halt the progress made in achieving compliance, but also risk reversing the gains made,” added Wakabi.

He avers that UCDA has been able to greatly contribute to Uganda’s improved Coffee quality through implementation of programs such as certification of Coffee nurseries to ensure quality of planting materials, Provision of Coffee specific extension services and agronomy to improve production and productivity, Provision of technical expertise in Coffee rehabilitation, post-harvest handling practices and pest and disease management and provision of coffee processing equipment like wet mills to farmers and cooperatives to improve quality and promote value addition. The coffee stakeholders are worried that once UCDA is taken to MAAIF which is loaded with many crops and projects, coffee, a key source of foreign exchange for Uganda may not get the necessary priority. Coffee stakeholders argue that if indeed Parliament is a people-centred institution, it should listen to the views of farmers and other stakeholders and retain UCDA as a semi-autonomous agency.

“Given the above position with the attendant reasons, the NCF advises that the proposed mainstreaming of UCDA into MAAIF should not be implemented and that the proposed Bill No. 30 (part VII) be dropped in order not to disrupt the industry and the progress made under the stewardship of UCDA. All coffee stakeholders are unanimously in agreement with this position,” reads the petition in part.


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Govt to import 10 million vaccines to control cattle disease



Entebbe, Uganda.  Government is set to import 10 million doses of vaccines to enable scaling up of ring vaccination as the fight to eradicate Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Ugandan cattle enters a new phase.

Cabinet chaired by President Yoweri Museveni on Monday also proposed that once ring vaccination is complete, farmers start paying for the FMD vaccines in a compulsory vaccination scheme, and thereafter, trade in animal products, will be restricted to those adhering to the plan.

Minister of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fishers Frank Tumwebazwe on Monday shared the resolutions after Cabinet laid out strategies to contain the disease that has hit 36 districts.

Cabinet agreed to create a revolving fund to enable procurement of sufficient FMD vaccines to facilitate compulsory bi-annual vaccination of the susceptible domestic animal population. It also approved a plan for farmers to pay for the vaccines while government covers other costs.

“Vaccination is to be made compulsory. Proof of vaccination will be a precondition for any farmer to sell any animal products,” said Minister Tumwebazwe.

“I appeal to fellow livestock farmers and stakeholders to understand and appreciate these effort as we steadily move to eradicate FMD in Uganda just like other animal diesases like rinderpest wre eradicated.”

Ntoroko veterinary disease surveillance team conducting FMD surveillance and sample collection

The 36 districts currently affected and under quarantine are Budaka, Bukedea, Bukomansimbi, Bunyangabu, Butaleja, Fortportal City, Gomba, Ibanda, Isingiro, Kabarole, Kasanda, Kayunga, Kazo, Kiboga, Kibuku, Kiruhura, Kumi, Kyankwanzi, Kyegegwa, Kyotera, Luuka, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Mbarara City, Mityana, Mpigi, Mubende, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Namisindwa, Ngora, Ntungamo, Rakai, Rwampara and Sembabule.

All districts neighboring the affected districts are at high risk, under strict surveillance, and the authorities have been advised to remain vigilant.

These include Apac, Amolatar, Bugiri, Bushenyi, Butaleja, Hoima, Iganga, Jinja, Kabale, Kaberamaido, Kaliro, Kamuli, Kamwenge, Katakwi, Kasese, Kibaale, Kiboga, Kyenjojo, Mbale, Masindi, Mayuge, Mukono, Namalemba, Nakapiripirit,
Palisa, Rukungiri, Sironko, Wakiso and Soroti.

Tumwebaze assured farmers that in the next one or two months, his Ministry expects to receive and dispatch 2.3 million doses of the FMD vaccine to the affected and susceptible districts for ring vaccination scale-up.

He told parliament earlier that as a way of increasing availability of Foot and Mouth Disease vaccines in the country,
Uganda’s National Agiculture Research Organisation (NARO) has started the process of formulating and developing an FMD vaccine for Uganda.

Source: The independent

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Farmers losing Shs4 trillion due to livestock diseases



ScienceDirect has revealed that farmers in Uganda lose more than $1.1b (Shs4.1 trillion) in aggregated annual direct and indirect loss due to the rising spread of tick-borne animal challenges, with the commonest and economically damaging tick-borne disease being the East Coast Fever.

The livestock industry in Uganda and its productivity continue to be threatened by a number of diseases many of which are tick-borne related.

This, Dr Anna Rose Ademun, the Ministry of Agriculture commissioner animal health, said results from arcaricides that have become resistant, thus the need to ensure collaboration and get solutions to the problem.

“There are ongoing efforts by the Agriculture Ministry, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation to support diagnosis of tick resistance to acaricides at regional laboratory centres but this is not enough,” she said during the livestock industry key stakeholders meeting in Kampala, which had been convened to discuss and prioritise areas for tick control.

The stakeholders included veterinarians, extension staff, farmers, processors and government representatives.

Ministry of Agriculture is already working on the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative, which seeks to, among others, provide sustainable solutions to enable small-scale farmers maximise the potential of their cattle by developing and practicing methods that can successfully manage tick infections in cattle.

During the meeting, the TickAcademy App, which will support farmers in managing tick infestations was also pre-launched.

By the end of January, farmers and extension workers will be able to access the app’s educational content, which includes simple-to-watch films, to help them become knowledgeable about tick control.

Mr Enrique Hernández Pando, the GALVmed head of commercial development and impact, said the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative will be important in tackling acaricide resistance challenges as well as help farmers and animal health officers to access creative methods of addressing the problem of acaricide resistance.

During the meeting, stakeholders jointly agree to train and sensitise field staff and farmers about tick management strategies that work, as well as strengthen the diagnostic infrastructure and testing capabilities for tick resistance and other animal health-related concerns.

Others will involve making it easier for farmers to obtain credit from savings institutions run by farmer groups at a reasonable cost so they may purchase specialized equipment for applying pesticides.

Mr Nishal Gunpath, the Elanco Animal Health country director south and sub-Saharan Africa, said they will support the Initiative to drive livestock in a better direction, noting that it will also help small-scale livestock farmers to maximise their potential.

Original Source: Daily Monitor

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