BuZARDI uses learning visit as an avenue to disseminate its technologies to farming communities to enhance uptake so as to bridge the huge gap between the yields attained on-station and farm household level. On June 1st, 2023, NARO Bulindi ZARDI was privileged to host members of Buhimba livestock farmers’ group from Kikuube district on-station during an exposure visit.
The visit, which was organised by the Kikuube district chairperson, Hon. Banura Peter, was aimed at furnishing the participants with latest innovations in livestock management, banana growing, pasture management and related technologies. Briefing the farmers in the lead up to the field excursion, the Director of NARO Bulindi ZARDI, Dr. Sylvester Dickson Baguma, urged them to gain knowledge and do farming differently if they are to tap into the opportunities created by the oil and gas activities in the Albertine Graben. The expectations of the farmers were met in the field, as they were exposed to NARO local chickens which grow faster, lay more eggs and have good mothering ability.
Besides, the facilitators took them through feed production, especially Black Soldier Fly larvae and Russian Comfrey. The former is considered to be a low-cost source of protein that enhances chicken growth whereas the latter improves the meat and egg quality. In relation to goat and cattle feeds, there were guided practicals on pasture establishment, management and conservation (hay making), specifically for NARO Chloris Gayana, Napier and Bracharia. These improved pastures are proven to have high biomass yield. Most of the farmers were clueless on what to do with their goat dung. At the banana research and technology demonstration site, they were shown how to integrate bananas into livestock farming by using goat dung (rich in Nitrogen) as manure when planting banana suckers.
Dr. Baguma, who accompanied the farmers in the field, revealed that efforts are ongoing to acquire Kalahari goats from the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) for crossing with Mubende and Savannah goats so as to improve the quality of goats in the Albertine Graben. He has a vision of having Bulindi ZARDI as a goat breeding and development hub. He challenged the farmers to cause a multiplier effect in their communities.