The National Animal Genetics Resources Center and Data Bank (NAGRC & DB) has embarked on an ambitious move to transform Uganda’s animal feed industry by planting 12 square miles of corn and soybeans on nine ranches across the country .
After a long spell of drought in the country this year, corn prices soared, external demand increased and fall armyworm infestation triggered a disastrous harvest.
Moreover, maize is the most important crop in Uganda, providing over 40% of the calories consumed in both rural and urban areas, serving over 2 million households, over 1,000 tradesmen/traders, and over 600 It is a direct source of livelihood for millers.
This situation has raised concerns that it will adversely affect the food value chain, from corn meal for direct human consumption to livestock and poultry feed.
Peter Beine, executive director of NAGRC and DB, told ChimpReports that the organization has been approved by the Cabinet as a participating agency for corn and soybean production on a total of 30,000 acres spread across its farms and ranches, food and animal feed. has been shown to increase the safety ofUganda
“We are starting with 25,000 acres of corn on nine select farms and ranches,” Beine said in an interview Monday morning.
“Soybean production will be on Aswa Ranch’s 5,000 acres,” he added.
At the Aswa Ranch in Padar district, NAGRC&DB has already planted 600 acres of soybeans and 1,320 acres of maize, covering 3 sq miles of its target of 15.6 sq miles. Food crops are sprayed with insecticides and herbicides.
On the same ranch, 7 out of 15 square miles of scrubland have so far been cleared for cultivation.
At the Maruzi Ranch in the Apac District, 450 acres (0.7 sq mi) of the 3 sq mi were planted with corn and sprayed with pesticides.
In addition, corn is grown at Kasolwe Ranch (650 acres) in Kamuri District and Lusenke Ranch (645 acres) in Kayunga District. Ruhenyere Field Station (650 acres) in Kirfra District. Songa Field Station (160 acres) in Kilfra District.
Nshaala Ranch in Kirfra District currently boasts 2 square miles of corn, Lubona in Bunyangab District (227 acres of corn) and Gwot Apoi Ranch in Nuwoya District/Pakwati (2.5 sq miles of corn).
Short term corn is also grown on a separate ranch
In the short term, according to Dr Gordon Ssengoye, NAGRC’s production manager, NAGRC will manufacture corn silage, sell a yield of 14,495 metric tons (MT) of corn in laminated bags, and store it on farms during the dry season. I am planning to feed. and ranch.
“Approximately 290,000 50 kg bags will be sold at a farm gate price of 25,000 shish, totaling 7,247,500,000 shish,” Ssengoye said.
The organization also plans to dry and store 3,000 tons of corn (1,500 tons) at Kasolwe Ranch’s grain storage facility to produce compound feed (1,500 tons).
“Our short-term plans include drying 288 tons of soybeans and storing them in warehouses at the Kasolwe Ranch animal feed production plant to produce compound feed,” said Ssengoye. .
The long-term plan includes two 10,000MT capacities with accompanying animal feed processing equipment at each of the nine participating NAGRC & DB farms and ranches to serve the different areas where the target ranches are located. including the establishment of grain storage facilities.
Not only does this increase the amount of corn that hits the market, but it ensures an adequate supply on dark days.
Dr. Ssengoye took ChimpReports through the process of meeting the organization’s goal of growing 30,000 acres of corn and soybeans.
He said that after clearing the bushes, primary tillage, including major soil work, would be carried out and corresponding fertilizers applied before planting 250,000 kg of maize seed and 100,000 kg of soybean seed could be embarked on. rice field.
Tractor-operated boom sprayer operation on corn and soybean plantations occurs before both pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicides are applied for weed control.
“We will then have tractor-operated harvesters and manual harvesting of corn and soybean plantations and transportation for post-harvest processing. But it also includes the production of compound feed,” says Ssengoye.
The organization will also install one high capacity (6250m 3 ) reinforced concrete silage bunker at each of the nine participating NAGRC & DB farms and ranches.
“We have also established pressurized agricultural water irrigation systems on each of our nine participating ranches to support year-round production and provide high-value mechanized agricultural production support machinery and equipment (bush clearing). Machines, farm access road construction equipment, heavy duty wheeled agricultural tractors, heavy duty primary and secondary tillage equipment, heavy duty boom sprayers, large precision planters, large inter-row cultivators for weeding and thinning, combines Harvesters and forage choppers.
ChimpReports understands that it has not been easy sailing for NAGRC and DB.
Some of the challenges faced include the very exorbitant equipment rental costs, especially for shrub cutting operations. Excessive heavy rains derailed both bush cutting and tilling operations, and rental machinery had to stop working for several weeks due to soggy and inoperable soil conditions.
Others include excessively high fuel costs for all mechanized operations in machine mobilization, machine operation, and demobilization. Delayed production due to eviction of invaders on state land. Scattered invader settlements have derailed efficient mechanized bush cutting, tillage, and breeding operations. Machine operators had to operate numerous plots of homesteads, gardens and cemeteries, resulting in an unreasonable waste of fuel and time.
Additionally, the organization grappled with fake agricultural inputs on the market that were proven to be ineffective against pests and weeds and did not have the budget for repeated use. Due to the lack of irrigation facilities to facilitate longer planting periods, expenditure on establishing pressurized agricultural water irrigation systems is not budgeted. Water stress on crop cultivation due to insufficient soil moisture. Large-scale invasions by fall army worms, which have proven to be resistant to available pesticides and wild prey, particularly elephants, buffalo, zebras, baboons, monkeys and antelope, have been reported in the Nshara, Sanga, and Lakes bordering the lakes. Gwot Apwoy continues to feed on the established cornfields on its ranch. Mburo National Park and Murchison Falls National Park. This has also led to unbudgeted spending on day and night security services.
However, Eng Robert Ssenozi, head of the board, is optimistic that the organization’s goals will be met with the steps taken to address the challenges.
These include large-scale awareness-raising of agricultural communities located within and near the program and directing agricultural input suppliers to provide feasibility certificates to support the provision of high-quality agricultural inputs. includes doing.
A solar-powered groundwater irrigation system was installed at Kasolwe Ranch (the most water-stressed of all production sites) to alleviate general water stress for corn there, while a mechanized Repeated pesticide spraying is ongoing for all food and animals. Feed production site.
“Chain fencing has been adopted as an interim solution to wildlife challenges on the Nshaala, Sangha and Gwot Apoi ranches and is ongoing,” said En Senoji.
NAGRC & DB, in collaboration with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, facilitated the installation of lion-proof fences at the boundaries of Lake Mburo National Game Park and Murchison Falls National Game Park, with Nshaara Ranch and Gwot Apwoy Ranch respectively.