The National Animal Genetic Resources Center and Data Bank (NAGRC & DB), has handed over Liquid Nitrogen tanks and Artificial Insemination Equipment to districts of Luweero, Gulu, Mbarara, Fort Portal and Njeru , as part of its efforts to enhance Dairy and beef production in the country.
While handing over the Liquid Nitrogen tanks and Artificial Insemination Equipment to beneficiary districts , Dr. Jackson Mubiru, the Director Genetic Resources breeding at NAGRC & DB, hailed the African Development Bank for funding Uganda’s Agricultural Value Chain Development project which aims at increasing access to improved dairy and beef cattle genetics in the country.
Dr. Mubiru noted that each liquid nitrogen tank has a capacity of 600 litres and that by stationing these tanks at various districts would save time and resources involved in fetching liquid nitrogen from Entebbe NAGRC & DB.
He revealed that they have already received funding from African Development Bank to rehabilitate the old semen lab and also construct a big one which will store large amounts of semen needed for dairy and beef genetic animal breeding.
He challenged the beneficiary districts to engage stakeholders in the private sector by signing memorandum of understanding with them to ensure liquid nitrogen and Artificial Insemination Equipments are available to cattle farmers whenever they need them regardless of public holidays.
He revealed that the liquid nitrogen tanks will address the usage of frozen semen since semen will be stored in liquid nitrogen tanks and consequently this will minimise death of calves.
Dr. Mastula Namubiru explains how the Liquid nitrogen tanks work
Dr. Mubiru further asked cattle farmers to embrace cross breeding with indigenous animals especially with good genes arguing that such animal breeds can’t easily succumb to animal diseases.
“Our development should hinge on indigenous animals as part of the equation,” he observed.
Dr. Christopher Mukasa, the technical manager in-charge of animal breeding at NAGRC & DB, appreciated the financial support from the African Development Bank, saying the 13 NAGRC & DB breeding and multiplication centres have made a good impact outside there.
“We have the biggest liquid nitrogen plant in Sub-saharan Africa capable of producing 90 litres per hour. In fact, in the East African Bloc we are perfect and efficient.
Dr. Sheila Butungi, the Africa Value Chain Development project Coordinator at NAGRC & DB, asked the funders for more financial support to be able to equip the semen lab saying this was not considered when planning for rehabilitation and expansion of the said lab and she is noted that at least over 1000 Artificial Insemination technicians have been trained in modern artificial Insemination technology.
Some of the liquid Nitrogen tanks with the capacity of 600-litres
Asaph Nuwagira, who headed a delegation from the Africa Development Bank- the main funder of the project, tasked NAGRC & DB to stick to value addition in beef and milk production and expressed displeasure with the delayed rehabilitation and construction of semen labs and management to accelerate the speed for timely project implementation.
The National project Coordinator for Agricultural Value Chain Development project (AVCP), said the project’s objective of increasing access to improved dairy and cattle genetics is in line with the third National Development plan whose aim is to reduce imports and increase exports so as to achieve balance of trade.
Dr. Aloysius Lumbuye, the principal veterinary officer for Luwero district, one of the beneficiary districts, asked NAGRC to organise a refresher seminar for Artificial Insemination technicians so that they can be able to catch up with the rapid technological advancement.
Dr. Lumbuye expressed concern on the application given to Artificial Insemination technicians saying it keeps on breaking down and hence they are unable to give timely reports to NAGRC .
He also added that the East coast fever has greatly affected the health of animals which discourages farmers from engaging in beef and dairy production.
He, however, appeals to the government through the agriculture Ministry to assist farmers to vaccinate their animals against animal diseases that pose a threat to animal health.