Research – extension – farmer linkage system in the dairy sector in South-Western Uganda
Ashaba, Rwakanuuma Alson
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The study was conducted in South-western Uganda in the districts of Mbarara, Kabale and Kisoro to analyze the research – extension – farmer linkage system with the key focus on the dairy sector. Cross sectional survey method was employed to gather data from farmers, farmers’ organizations, extension agents, researchers, processors and Makerere University from December 2009 – May 2010. The study was principally qualitative using case study approach where by two cases were purposively selected, that is to say, one in FAO funded project area (small scale dairy holder), and the other on large scale dairy holder. The cases were studied using individual interviews, focus group discussions, and participatory observations complemented by Delphi technique. Various qualitative analysis tools were used to analyse data. The study found out that the central actors in dairy sector were research scientists, public & private extension service providers and farmers & farmers’ organisations. Conversely, these actors were acting disjointedly whereby research scientists, extension agents and farmers were working in isolation from each other without a formal coordination mechanism. Furthermore the key constraints affecting the strengthening of the linkage between dairy farmers, extension and research were poor feedback mechanisms, inadequate resource allocation, lack of partnership for synergy, informal co-operation at field level and infrequent contacts between the actors. The study revealed opportunities to be exploited for strengthening the linkages; these include among others, rearranging the existing farmers’ organizations into vibrant and sound dairy farmers’ organizations at each local level and the capacity of DDA to the link the active partners in the dairy sector The study recommends that, a well funded dairy coordination unit that links all the active players in the dairy sector should be formed. Furthermore, creation and strengthening of strong and sound dairy farmers’ associations or co-operative movements at each local level, with a national board, will provide opportunities for linking up with the research organizations and extension agencies.