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LIVESTOCK & FISHERIES RESEARCH

LIVESTOCK AND FISHERIES RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

Title of Project 1: Evaluation of fodder species for improved livestock productivity in Western Highlands Agroecological Zone

Background to the Problem (justification for research)

In Uganda, livestock sector contributes 12.7% to agriculture GDP and 5.2% to the total GDP. This sector grows at a rate of 4% per annum due to increased demand for livestock products. Livestock production is important in nutrition improvement, provision of manure as well as source of income. The sector faces challenges including poor nutrition, poor breeds, pests and diseases and inaccessibility to markets. Inadequate feeds is the most pronounced challenge for it contributes about 65% of the total production cost. Strategies aimed at improving livestock feeding are crucial for productivity. Research in most developing countries is aimed at identifying cheap feed sources. Cheap and available feed resources for compounding livestock rations are essential for improving livestock productivity. The project aims at identifying fodder species for adaptable to the zone for improved livestock performance.

Rwebitaba Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Rwebitaba ZARDI) is one of the Public Agriculture Research Institutes under the regulation of the National Agricultural Research Organization.

Reference to earlier work

Livestock research has been conducted on nutrition and management options. Despite this, the quantity and quality of fodder species accessed by farmers is still poor and hence require improvement in order to enhance livestock productivity. There is also need for validation of the nutritional characteristics of the pastures as they are subject to change due the prevailing ecological conditions. Due to the increasing demand for livestock products, there is need for scaling up technological interventions for improving livestock productivity. Fodder research is fundamental in enhancing livestock nutrition.

    Project Objectives:

  • To identify best performing fodder species in the zone
  • To determine the effect of the different feeds and fodder species on livestock performance
  • To enhance availability and access to improved fodder planting materials

    List of experiments in the project:

  • Evaluation of fodder species for livestock in the West Highland Agro-ecological Zone.
  • Formulation and evaluation of diets based on forage species on livestock performance
  • Establishment of efficient and effective pasture seed system

Sub project/Study 1:

Evaluation of Brachiaria mulato, Brachiaria brizantha and Brachiaria ruzienthesis as fodder species for livestock in the West Highland Agro-ecological Zone

Introduction

The livestock is an important sector of the Ugandan economy for they its vital in the livelihoods of most farmers in terms of providing nutrition, manure for crop production and generating income and employment in Uganda. Productivity of the livestock sector in Uganda is however constrained by inadequate quantity and quality of feed resources. Feed scarcity is usually manifested as seasonal variations in quantity and quality of feed mainly pronounced during the dry season. Feed scarcity results from the escalating demographic pressure on available land and the rising competition between forage production and other enterprises for land, hence restricting forage production to smaller portions of farmland. The livestock priorities at Rwebitaba-ZARDI are aimed at generating and diseeminating appropriate, cost effecytive technologies that will boost farmers income and livelihoods in the zone. Livestock diseases and there prevention is also one of the priority areas put into consideration. This is in a bid toward design designing appropriate feeding and disese managament strategies. It is envisaged that, this will boost the productivity of the livestock sector in the zone. As an initiation strategy, Evaluation of some fooder species for livestock has been initiated in the zone.

Problem statement

The major limitations to livestock production are the lack of suitable fodder that can produce green foliage year around. The lack of sufficient forage more especially during the dry season and the low nutritive value of these forages with increasing maturity adversely affect livestock productivity. Improved Brachiaria grasses are exceptionally tolerant to poor soils and dry seasons and as such, could play a role in smallholder livestock production systems. Furthermore, high yield quality and easy of propagation of improved Brachiaria are central to their establishment and utilization under smallholder farming communities for improved milk and meat production. Therefore considering, the production of improved Brachiaria and its adaptation to various geographical areas improved Brachiaria grass may be able to address the lack of fodder in the West highland agro-ecological Zone.

Objectives of the study

The overall objective of the project is to evaluate the performance of Brachiara mulato, B. ruzienthesis and Brachiaria brizantha as fodder for livestock in the zone.

    Specific Objectives:

  • To determine the production and quality of the different brachiaria species in the West Highland Agro-ecological Zone.
  • To determine the adaptability of the three Brachiaria spp in the wet and dry season
  • To determine the efficiency of diets based on Brachiaria spp as basal feedstuff in goat production systems.
Pasture species under evaluation at the institute.

Sub Project/study 2: Constraints and opportunities diary production in the West Highland Agro-ecological Zone

Introduction

Dairy farming is an important sector of Uganda’s agriculture contributing greatly to rural livelihood. Women are immense contributors to and beneficiaries and are mostly involved in zero grazing production system. In Uganda the potential dairy production is promising with many smallholder farmers now engaged in this sector. Globally the livestock sector is estimated to contribute to the livelihood of 600 million smallholder farmers in the developing world. In Uganda the production of milk is estimated at 1,461 million litres in 2012 representing an increment of 3% from 2011. Despite such increment in milk production, the sector still faces key challenges which calls for deeper understanding such that collective measures are put in place. Although uncertainties still remain over the herd size and the areas of yield decline, it’s clear that yields are far below the potential (5-10 litres per day) compared to 20 litres of yield per day in some instances in Uganda.Many causes of this decline have been suggested and these include parasites, diseases, poor husbandry practices, poor breeds and inn availability of quality feeds. As such it was deemed necessary for Rwebitaba ZARDI to embark on a project ‘Development of livestock technologies among small holder farmers in western highland agro-ecological zone,’ with the purpose of establishing a new strategy for the development of dairy in the zone to meet the demand. It was therefore imperative to study current productivity of the dairy farming in the zone as base line and identify key constraints that are limiting the productivity of cattle in the zone.

    Objectives of the study:

  • To establish the status and understand the production opportunities and constraints affecting dairy farming in the zone
  • Identify area specific researchable areas for the purposes of increasing dairy productivity among smallholder dairy farmers in the zone.

Project Title: Development of appropriate technologies to increase apiculture production in the Western High land Agroecological zone

Background to the Problem being addressed (justification for research)

Apiculture is important forincome generation, pollination, environmental conservation and diversifying Uganda’s export base. It is a low investment venture and can be undertaken by women, youths, the disabled and the elderly.Bee products such as honey, wax, propolis and royal jelly are essential for pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. In 2005, Uganda was licensed to export honey to EU market, creating an immense opportunity. The expanding international market for special flavoured and organic honey is unexploited. Uganda’s annual honey production is about 5,000 tonnes which is only 1% of potential of 500,000 tonnes.Many beekeepers in Uganda use rudimentary honey production and harvesting techniques leading to poor yields. The output cannot withstand competition both in the local and internal markets. This project aims at developing appropriate technologies to increase apiculture production in the Western High land Agroecological zone.

Reference to earlier work

Beekeeping is practiced in most Agroecological zones across Uganda. Many beekeepers possess beehives which are devoid of bees. As a result, they fail to supply sufficient honey for the market. Hive and apiary colonisation rates in Uganda are as low as 20-50%. Appropriate hive technologies have been used for honey production in Uganda. Information on the major bee forages is valuable and can guide farmers on agroforestry and reforestation as well as selectively grow them in their apiaries. However, this information is lacking for Uganda, thereby hindering apiculture production (Commonwealth Secretariat, 2002).

Overall objective

The overall objective of the project is to develop appropriate technologies to increase apiculture production in the Western Highlands Agroecological zone.

    Specific objective:

  • To assess the socio-economic factors influencing apiculture production in the zone
  • To identify and prioritise honeybee forage plants in order to promote their propagation
  • To evaluate the performance of different beehive types for honey production
  • To develop technologies to increase hive and apiary colonisation capacities

    List of experiments in the project

  • Evaluation of performance of important honeybee forage plants on-station
  • Evaluation of performance of different beehive types for honey production
  • Evaluation of technologies to increase hive and apiary colonisation capacities

Project Title: Development of appropriate technologies to increase apiculture production in the Western High land Agroecological zone

Background to the Problem being addressed (justification for research):

Apiculture is important forincome generation, pollination, environmental conservation and diversifying Uganda’s export base. It is a low investment venture and can be undertaken by women, youths, the disabled and the elderly.Bee products such as honey, wax, propolis and royal jelly are essential for pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. In 2005, Uganda was licensed to export honey to EU market, creating an immense opportunity. The expanding international market for special flavoured and organic honey is unexploited. Uganda’s annual honey production is about 5,000 tonnes which is only 1% of potential of 500,000 tonnes.Many beekeepers in Uganda use rudimentary honey production and harvesting techniques leading to poor yields. The output cannot withstand competition both in the local and internal markets. This project aims at developing appropriate technologies to increase apiculture production in the Western High land Agroecological zone.

Reference to earlier work

Beekeeping is practiced in most Agroecological zones across Uganda. Many beekeepers possess beehives which are devoid of bees. As a result, they fail to supply sufficient honey for the market. Hive and apiary colonisation rates in Uganda are as low as 20-50%. Appropriate hive technologies have been used for honey production in Uganda. Information on the major bee forages is valuable and can guide farmers on agroforestry and reforestation as well as selectively grow them in their apiaries. However, this information is lacking for Uganda, thereby hindering apiculture production.

Overall objective

The overall objective of the project is to develop appropriate technologies to increase apiculture production in the Western Highlands Agroecological zone.

    Specific objective

  • To assess the socio-economic factors influencing apiculture production in the zone
  • To identify and prioritise honeybee forage plants in order to promote their propagation
  • To evaluate the performance of different beehive types for honey production
  • To develop technologies to increase hive and apiary colonisation capacities

    List of experiments in the project

  • Evaluation of performance of important honeybee forage plants on-station
  • Evaluation of performance of different beehive types for honey production
  • Evaluation of technologies to increase hive and apiary colonisation capacities