HELEN NAKIMBUGWE1, JOHANN SÖLKNER2, ALFONS WILLAM2
1National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Databank, Uganda
2University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Department of Sustainable Agricultural Systems, Austria
The Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) is Uganda's comprehensive development framework with one of its most important pillars being the Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA). PMA aims at accelerating agricultural growth through transforming subsistence modes of agricultural production to commercial ones. Livestock is an important sub-sector in agriculture contributing 7.5% and 17% to total GDP and agricultural GDP respectively. The pathetic per capita availability of livestock products in the country viz. 40 litres of milk and 5.6 kgs of meat as compared with the FAO recommendation of 200 and 50 respectively calls for sustainable PMA compliant interventions in the sub-sector. Although animal genetic improvement offers one of the most powerful and cheapest means of improving farm productivity, its effective exploitation has been hampered by lack of well planned and executed breeding programmes. The National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Databank (NAGRC&DB) which has the mandate to oversee animal breeding activities in the country is therefore, trying to put a systematic cattle breeding programme in place. Because of its suitability in low-input low-output systems, the Open Nucleus Breeding strategy has been chosen to play a leading role in the genetic improvement of cattle. It is a scheme where superior animals are multiplied at a central farm, distributed to farmers and the best animals from the farmers are brought back to the central farm for further breeding and the best bulls recruited for semen production in the Bull stud. Nshaara stock farm, which is found in South Western Uganda, is to spearhead the improvement of the prevalent Ankole (local) cattle population. The centrally located Njeru stock farm is to take lead in the improvement of the Holstein-Friesian population. The essence of this study is to evaluate a range of Open Nucleus designs (genetical and operational) from which the best ones will be recommended for execution. The study covers the Lake Victoria Crescent region in Uganda, a region with an on"=going Herd/Milk Recording Scheme which has provided much of the data used in the study. SelAction (computer programme) which uses deterministic simulation will be used in the evaluation of the different designs.
Keywords: Animal breeding, cattle, livestock, open nucleus, Uganda