NAADS trains 540 youth leaders across the country in dairy farming in preparation to receive dairy cows
Government through the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) is set to distribute 540 in-calf heifers to youth leaders at the local government councils in fulfillment of a pledge by His Excellency the President to support youth leaders with heifers for improved household food security and income.
The president made the pledge to the youth leaders during the presidential campaign trail in 2021. In fulfillment of the pledge, NAADS Secretariat in collaboration with the current Youth MPs agreed to support the newly elected youth leaders in a phased manner based on the availability of funds. In this regard, the NAADS Secretariat has procured 540 heifers targeting 540 youth leaders in 135 District Local Governments (DLGs), 11 Cities and 56 Municipalities.
In each district and city, three people on the youth council were selected to benefit and these include the chairperson of the District/City Youth Council, the Secretary for Finance, and the Secretary for women affairs. At the municipality level, distribution of the heifers will begin with the Chairpersons of the Division/Municipality Youth Council.
As part of the preparations for the youth to receive the heifers, NAADS Secretariat organized a sensitization and training drive for youth beneficiaries in dairy cattle management. The training was aimed at equipping the youth leaders with the necessary knowledge, skills, and information required to effectively manage dairy cattle projects as well as to orient their mindset towards farming as a business.
While officiating at one of the training for the youth leaders from Ankole and Kigezi region that took place at Mbarara Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute, the Executive Director NAADS Dr. Samuel K. Mugasi implored the youth leaders to seize the opportunity given to them by Government to demonstrate to others how youth can make farming as a business and how farming can be of relevancy to their livelihood.
“One in-calf heifer given to a person as ‘entandikwa’, if managed very well, can improve one’s household income because of its high multiplier effect. Within months after receiving the heifer, it will give birth to a calf which is additional capital and also give milk to the farmer “, said Dr. Mugasi
Mugasi explained that this time around NAADS decided to first train the youth before handing the heifers to them to avoid the previous incidences where the youth sold out the cows immediately after receiving them and others ended up dying because of poor management.
“We had previous experiences where the youth received cows for wealth creation and immediately after getting them, sold them at prices way below the value because they had limited information on their management and potential for income generation”, explained Dr. Mugasi
The training that took three days from 16th to 18th March, were organized at eight centers across the country including Mbarara which brought together youth leaders from Ankole and Kigezi, Fort portal for Rwenzori and Bunyoro, Namulonge Research Institute in Wakiso for central region, Tororo for Bugisu and Bukedi, Mayuge for Busoga region, Soroti for Teso and Karamoja, Arua for West Nile and Lira for Lango and Acholi.
The training involved taking the youth leaders to dairy farms for a hands-on experience in the management of dairy cattle that included understanding the different breeds of dairy cattle, animal feeding and treatment and much more.
The youth are set to receive the 540 in-calf heifers fro0m NAADS in May 2022 after making the necessary preparations.