At least 47 farmers in Ssembabule district have each got a hybrid goat from government as part of the shs6.5 billion project to help the country increase the number and quality of goats to meet local and international market demand.
The goats were handed over to farmers by Paul Sembeguya, the manager of Sembeguya Estates who is implementing the project.
“Whereas this project started out as a pilot, we have been able to roll it out to six districts around the country. Initially, we were engaging recipients of the goats as part of the pilot study. What we are now doing is give each benefiting farmer a male Savannah goat and will be required to avail 50 nannies for purposes of cross breeding,” Sembeguya said.
He said each of the farmers will now act as a nucleus breeder for farmers in other participating districts including Sembabule, Wakiso, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Gomba, Kyankwanzi and Mubende.
“The farmers from the participating districts can come and buy replacement bucks from the nucleus farmer to avoid problems of inbreeding. This way, we shall expedite the process of goat multiplication in the country.”
Sembeguya noted that at the end of the cycle, at least 2,350 goats of local breed will have been cross bred.
The implementer of the project however decried the low funding that he said has seen it not being fully implemented.
He noted that whereas they receive more than 500 applications from farmers, only 30 are able to get hybrid goats which he said has seen the number of beneficiaries be at only 471 households since the project started contrary to the projected 1,120 .
“The funding gap has also led to the death of some animals since we cannot effectively monitor their progress and medically attend to them. Also due lack of specialized transportation, as well as enough personnel to administer the operations all caused by lack of enough funds have crippled the project.”
The goat project was started in 2005 as a presidential initiative aimed at increasing the number and quality of goats in the country.
The project which started as a pilot in Ssembabule district was designed with four components which include conservation of local breeds, improvement of local breeds, promotion of peri-urban farming (mainly through promotion of dairy goat raring) and improving the goat gene pool in Uganda.
In order to improve local breeds, each Farmer who is a beneficiary of this project is required to provide 50 nannies on his or her farm to be crossbred with one pedigree male Savannah goat imported through the project.
A pedigree is a 100% exotic breed with both parent animals from the same breed.
While a market-ready mature indigenous goat can fetch between aha250,000 and shs300,000, the improved breeds of goats can fetch up to a million shillings in the market.
The goat project is also aimed at promoting commercial raring of dairy goats, mainly in Wakiso district.
With a litre of milk going for 6000 to 8000 shillings, a farmer can earn up to shs11 million per year, from goat milk alone.
On the other side, the project provide 16 nucleus farmers or breeders with 250 indigenous goats each for purposes of multiplication and redistribution to begin with as a way of conserving local breeds.