The milking parlour aimed to showcase the latest technology in dairy farming so that farmers could learn from it.
The milking parlour was supported by SNV in Uganda under The Inclusive Dairy Enterprise (TIDE) project. In September 2016, SNV in partnership with the Dairy Development Authority (DDA) launched the first ever practical dairy training farms in South Western Uganda. Through the project, SNV and its partners aimed to stimulate dairy farmers in the southwest milk shed to acquire knowledge to adopt dairy farming as a business, and ultimately increase their milk production.
One of the approaches identified by the project to improve productivity at farm level was the Practical Diary Training Farming (PDTF) approach. Through this approach, dairy farms - at different levels and in different locations, were identified and supported to develop into model training centres. Three farms were selected: AGDI Dairy Farm and MUTANOGA Farm in Kiruhura district, and Rubyerwa Dairy Investments in Mbarara district. The training centres offered one-week residential training courses on three thematic areas: 1) dairy breeding; 2) fodder, feeds and nutrition; 3) disease prevention and control.
In his remarks at the opening of his milking parlour, retired Colonel Dick Bugingo thanked SNV and the Netherlands Embassy in Kampala for supporting private sector initiatives which are critical for the economic development of the dairy sector in Uganda. “My mission is to transform and make dairy farming in my community more sustainable. To increase productivity we have to value dairy farming as a business. These are the same principles that SNV and the Dutch Embassy are championing through the TIDE project. When SNV identified my farm, it was already up and running. However, with matching grants and their support, I have been able to invest even more into my farm and make it as it is today. What SNV is doing in the western part of our country is very commendable. With their support, model farms like mine are able to offer practical dairy training to farmers and youth interested in farming. Also, many farmers started embracing dairy farming as a business,” Dick said.
While conventional development approaches are characterised by handouts, with farmers predominantly accessing free extension services and getting allowances for participating in the trainings, the Practical Dairy Training Farming (PDTF) model is private sector led and demand driven. Farmers identify their individual needs based on their specific production challenges and pay for the training to bridge the knowledge gaps. Each farmer pays 350,000 UGX (75 Euros) to participate in a four-day training course in one of the three practical dairy training farms, with accommodation, meals and transfers included in the fee. To date, over 1,500 farmers paid and have been trained in the PDTF. Farmers are not only undertaking the training but investing and implementing the lessons learnt in their farms. In the last two years, farmers have invested a cumulative total of over 4.7bn UGX (1m Euros) in their farms, directly through the TIDE project.
“The potential in the agriculture sector in Uganda is growing and so is the entrepreneurial spirit among Ugandans. That is why we as the Netherlands government are proud to partner with the Government of Uganda, through initiatives like the SNV TIDE project to find solutions and opportunities together,” said Joris van Bommel, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation of the Netherlands Embassy in Kampala.
SNV is implementing the TIDE project in the districts of Bushenyi, Isingiro, Kiruhura, Mbarara, Ntungamo, Sheema and Lyantonde in South Western Uganda with funding from the Netherlands Embassy.