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Government Launches Improved Local Chicken Breed in Mukono

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government launches improved local chicken breed in mukono
government launches improved local chicken breed in mukono
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The Government of the United Kingdom, through the National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO), has initiated a local chicken breeding and production unit in Mukono district.

The Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MUZARDI), under the leadership of Dr. Barbara Zawedde, is spearheading this project, which seeks to enhance local chicken breeds by improving their growth rate and egg production.

Agriculture State Minister Robert Bwino Kyakulaga inaugurated the breeding unit at MUZARDI in Ntaawo cell, Mukono municipality central division, on Wednesday. The civil works, amounting to £694 million, were financed jointly by the Government and the European Union as part of the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU). This funding facilitated the renovation and equipping of the local chicken hatchery research and production unit.

Dr. Zawedde explained that the operationalised unit aims to support the national local chicken seed systems. It encompasses various components, including a biosecurity and reception unit, hatchery unit, research/production units, and a bio waste incinerator. These components work together to produce fertile eggs and day-old chicks, which will be supplied to selected hatcheries and farmers.

Abas Kigozi, one of the researchers leading this project, mentioned that they have collected various local chicken breeds from across the country, particularly from northern Uganda, where local chicken rearing is prevalent. These breeds are being improved to achieve faster growth and earlier egg production.

Compared to traditional local breeds that take over a year to mature and start laying eggs, the enhanced breeds they are developing reach a weight of at least 2.5 kilograms in four months and begin laying eggs between five and six months of age. Importantly, Kigozi clarified that the research aims to maintain the local genes, ensuring that the final product retains the distinctive taste of local chicken, as opposed to being a hybrid.

The research project comprises five stages, with three already completed, leaving two more to be undertaken.

Mukono Deputy Resident District Commissioner Mike Ssegawa highlighted the timeliness of this research, noting that many people in villages are familiar with raising local chickens, which are easy to feed, treat, and rear. He emphasized that with the current Parish Development Model (PDM), individuals will find it easier to invest in local chicken farming.

Dr. Yona Baguma, the Director General of NARO, urged district agriculture and production officers to stay updated on the latest research findings. He proposed that these officers be regularly informed about the latest innovations at the start of planting seasons, enabling them to assist farmers in adopting these advancements.

However, MUZARDI’s future in Mukono is uncertain due to a lease dispute with Uganda Christian University (UCU). UCU claims that the government’s lease has expired, potentially jeopardizing the valuable research and infrastructure at MUZARDI. Rebecca Bukenya Ssaabaganzi, the chairperson of MUZARDI’s supervisory committee, called for the government to intervene, either through a partnership with UCU or compensation for the university. She emphasized that MUZARDI serves as a vital resource for education and research in Uganda.