Socio-economic impact of dairy cattle zero grazing production system on the livelihoods of the rural poor in Uganda : a case study of Sironko Dairy Heifer Project
Zimbe, Yosia Joshua
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This study was carried out in Sironko and Bulambuli Districts in Eastern Uganda and Sironko Dairy Heifer Project was used as a case study. Between 1998 and 2005, Sironko Dairy Heifer Project funded by Heifer International (HI) promoted zero-grazing of dairy cattle among the project participating households in Sironko and Bulambuli Districts. The aim of the study was to assess the potential and expected socio-economic impact of the stall fed/ zero-grazed dairy cattle production system on the rural poor households in Uganda. The specific objectives of the study were; to determine the role played by zero grazed dairy cattle in improving household income and meeting household basic needs, to establish the role of the zero grazed dairy cattle in improving household food production and security and to determine the role played by the project to influence collective actions and social network development in the community. The data for this study was collected through a cross- section survey which involved both project participating1 and none participating households. In-depth interviews with key-informants, Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with farmers were also carried out together with household survey questionnaire. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for social Scientist (SPSS16). Results from this study indicated that zero grazed dairy cattle contributed substantially to rural household welfare and incomes, food security and improved community social networks. Average annual income from dairy farming by the project participants was Uganda shillings 2,191,206 approximately US Dollars 8942. The use of cow dung manure from the zero grazing units by participating households, average crop yields was significantly higher amongst the project participants contributing to an average income of Uganda shillings amounting to 2,549,334 on annual basis as compared to only 833,136 for none project participating households. Improved food crop production and milk availability contributed to better household food security and nutrition among the project participating households than the non-project participating households. The daily milk consumption for the original and pass on the gifts household members was 0.439litres and 0.330litres respectively as compared to only 0.108litres for non-project participants. This translates into 158, 118 and 38 litres per capita consumption for original, pass on the gifts and the non-project participants households respectively. Milk consumption among the project participating household was way above the national average of 54 litres per capita according to DDA, 2010 report. However the increased milk intake as a result of the project is still below the WHO recommended 200 litres per capita consumption. Additional income from milk sales increased the ability of a household to afford an extra kg of meat, but this didn’t substantially add to standard. Project participating households had diversified into seven more income sources as compared to only four for the non-dairy cattle zero grazing households indicating increased livelihood options for project participating households than their counterparts. Further analysis of the household expenditure revealed that the non-project participating households spent forty eight percent of their incomes on food and on medical bills, whereas the project participants (original3 and pass on the gifts4) households spent 46 and 49 percent respectively on improving family housing condition and buying more farm land. Observation of the housing condition across the studied households, revealed better housing conditions with the project participating households than the non-project participating households. There was more involvement of women in dairy cattle management in project participating households than in the non-project participating households; this was due to the facts that the cows were mainly given to women and that by nature of a zero grazing units which are built within the household compound, women could easily take care of the cattle since they were always present at home. In spite of the high project score on immediate benefits and raising social status of the beneficiaries, long term offspring good performance sustainability may not be attained. Farmers could only access Artificial Insemination (AI) services when the project was on going and now not only cannot afford to pay for the services but they also have no progeny bulls for better offspring production. The other equally important factor is that the extension services being offered by government are also still unable to reach farmers, build and sustain their capacity to engage in sustainable livestock agriculture.
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