YAP Proposal #90: “Establishing Breed standards for the Ankole cattle” (Caesar Walter Tumwesigye, Uganda)

Ankole Cattle resting after grazing

My name Caesar Walter Tumwesigye a 27 yr old male from Uganda – a specialist in Livestock Production. Born and grew up in southwestern Uganda in a community where livestock are a part of the way of life. Early on I was involved in the rearing of these animals and became passionate about them especially indigenous Ankole cattle because of their legendary stories in folklore and their multirole purpose roles in the livelihood of peoples of the African continent.

I am committed to their survival in the face of unfavorable odds like greater demands of production like faster growth, more milk and meat which driving them to extinction. The value of these animals must be promoted before they are no longer in existence.

Project description

My project “Establishment of Breed standards for the Ankole cattle” is aimed at establishing a system of standards to guide the breeders of the Ankole cattle to maintain the heritage of the beautiful animals. This project is aimed at advocacy for the conservation while promoting future breeding efforts aimed at protecting the breed from extinction. The overall objective is: To promote the preservation and protection the Ankole cattle genetic resources for biodiversity conservation, improved food security and increased household incomes.

Indigenous animals have played and continue to play a significant role in the livestock industry. Uganda has a wide variety of animals – from high producing breeds of cattle, sheep, poultry and pigs – adapted to modern production systems; to a number of indigenous breeds especially of cattle (including the Ankole Longhorned, East African Shorthorned Zebu etc.) that are well adapted to the natural environment and have been around for a long time. Regionally and in Uganda, animal agriculture is, however, facing new challenges. Urban encroachment and a growing demand for animal products are placing increasing pressure on reduced resources and the country can no longer afford the luxury of less-efficient production.

Lasting food security will only be possible if all sectors move towards more effective and sustainable management of farm animal genetic resources. This includes the resources in the traditional/communal farming sector. Ankole cattle beef is also known for low cholesterol levels which is ideal, and when market as such it shall fetch a premium price, and breeders can be able to keep them and support their herds.

My motivation;

Africa on the whole is seen as a “poor continent”. The livestock farmers are also seen as ‘poor’ yet they play an invaluable role in the nutrition and food security of communities and countries. Whereas the transition from traditional ways of livestock keeping methods that included nomadism took a while (and some still pursue this way of life); settled farming required the these farmers take up more productive animals in order for them to survive.

High yielding exotic breeds were introduced but could not survive easily. The cost of their maintenance was very high and less adapted to this environment – they died in numbers. The ‘magic bullet’ was cross breeding that produced more adapted breeds at the expense of the indigenous animals Most of the problems on the continent today arise from the failures to utilize the available resources properly. I strongly believe that these minimum care breeds that are adapted in Africa possess certain superior qualities that have enabled them to survive in this environment which have evolved over many centuries.

The gain for me is public awareness of the resource that must not be lost. My community gains by promoting good breeding practices for these indigenous animals, which can promote agrotourism – there’s much more potential that can be exploited but this can only happen if the animals are not lost.

In order to achieve my goal, leading to the success the project the following shall be necessary;

  • Develop a questionnaire which shall be used as a data collection tool
  • Field visits for sampling and collection of opinions and views of various stakeholders through questionnaires and focused group discussions to describe the breed.
  • Aggregating information and generating a draft standard
  • Carry out Breed promotion, awareness and advocacy in media, posters and banners

At the moment, I have drafted two documents one – Rules of Ankole Cattle Breeders’ Society; the second on is a Draft Breed Standards Document. The second document is the most important for the success of this project, it requires field travel and survey to gather opinions, analyze them and complete it before submission to an East Africa regional convention of breeders and keepers of the Ankole for debate and adoption.

Actual measurable success factors for your project i.e measure of success;

  • Renewed interest in the Ankole cattle breed within Uganda and beyond. This shall be measured by discussions and mentions over the internet via metadata. The Ankole cattle should also gain iconic status like the Mountain Gorilla also found in Uganda.
  • Breed standards adopted by the breeders’ convention. Measure of success is the usage of this document in ongoing and future breeding programs

Plan to use the US$5000 grant in a period of 6 months to do the following;

  • Acquire IT equipment i.e a laptop computer, camera, and voice recorder
  • Travel facilitation and per diem 2 people to collect data from breeders
  • Meetings/ Group discussions – incentives for attendees of village based meetings i.e transport refunds or teas
  • Print poster, banners – to aid in the advertising and branding
  • Set up a website dedicated to the Ankole cattle breed in Africa

Contact:

Email:               caesarowak@outlook.com

Twitter:            @caesarowak

Instagram:       @caesarowak

LinkedIn:          https://ug.linkedin.com/in/walter-caesar-tumwesigye-8a156328

Blogpost and picture submitted by Caesar Walter Tumwesigye (Uganda) –caesarowak[at]outlook.com

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #90 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

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21 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #90: “Establishing Breed standards for the Ankole cattle” (Caesar Walter Tumwesigye, Uganda)

  1. Dear Caesar,
    I thank you for such a nobel initiative that is aimed at the food security of Uganda but most importantly, an idea that helps us to save and preserve our fading heritage in lieu of the current demands of production and land constraint.

    Out of misguided leadership we continue to haphazardly adopt new interventions without making informed considerations and that leaves us more lost than we once were and for such reasons Africa remains a poor continent as you mentioned, for example the exotic breeds were brought in to improve the production, but diseases like East coast fever have not spared them. this has led to the now ongoing crossing with indigenous cattle not as a policy but out of frustration of the farmer. As if we do not learn from one error, the same is being done for the goats.

    Like stated earlier, we lack leadership.
    Am aware that the Government established the Nshara ranch in Western Uganda to serve the same purpose you propose. (preserve and promote the wonderful Ankole Cattle). in the draft of your proposal did you in any way seek information on the current status of the farm?

    I wish you the best of luck in this project.
    Dickson Tayebwa (BVM Mak, Post graduate Cand NRCPD, OUAVM)

    1. A good read. Very informative, well reseached and great advice to those who are or wish to take up cattle rearing in the Ankole region. Good luck with your project.

  2. Great staff Caesar, i know we shall talk more about and i pray several funders look into your great ideas and provide the necessary funds for the project success and its continuous growth.

  3. We could never have hoped for any better, Caesar thanks for bring back the great idea to keep Ankole cows and culture to be proud of. I look forward to the success of the project no doubt.

  4. You are on the right track, i have hopped for this project for a long time and thanks for bring the idea to restore Ankole Cows not only cows but the African culture, Great proposal, I would like to remind you that you have to hit hard on the climate changes in uganda and shortage of water and pasture as such animals need a wide range of land to move and eat,

  5. Bravo Caesar.
    I’m very proud of you for pursuing this noble ambition. Part of the reason why our country languishes in abject poverty is because fundamental issues that run our economy are not given due attention. My hope is that you find the means to run this project to completion.
    It is most definite that this will go a long way in improving both the health and wealth of cattle and humans by leaps and bounds.
    Fingers crossed.

  6. Most genetic resources are getting depleted -accross Africa. Saving the future of Ankole cow is a must. I am excited you are taking on this noble cause that will not only keep the heritage but also help poverty eradication efforts in Uganda.

  7. this is a good project, that will make it because it blends with the social life of the indigenous.
    I also envisage a scenario where we promote our own heritage including cattle. there has also been economic driven shift to exotic breeds of cattle.
    we need our own that can also provide the prestige and fight malnutrition through high fat got from them unlike the exotic ones.
    thank you for this initiative and i look forward to seeing the project materialize.
    Dr. warren Tumwine (MBChB, Mmed, MPH)

  8. Great ideas up there…buh I wish the project would put more emphasis on how to make the animals more productive to the farmer..for example how to improve milk production this could zero down to what feeds are used to feed these animals…how to improve the type of meat produced by these animals…still looking at the feeding….

    Otherwise well done bruv..

  9. Ceasor,
    Thank you for this awakening call.
    Your project is viable and feasible. To me not any thing must be guided by economic models.there are those things we must do because of their strategic importance.
    Who doesn’t know that the Ankole cow will be one of the great tourist potentials? Who doesn’t know the cultural importance of Ankole cow?who needs a lecture on the nutritional value let alone the food security guaranteed by Ankole cow products? Isn’t it common knowledge the cow has the highest butter fat content (BFC) with lowest cholesterol? So if this is promoted, we shall reduce on common nutritional ailments associated with using artificial cooking oil.
    To keep Ankole cow,you do not need to destroy the natural vegitation,thus it is ecologically friendly let alone it saves us from climatic changes.
    As a matter of urgency we need strong advocacy to keep Ankole cow and more government interventions are required. We need more government ranches and breeding centres.
    Ceasor you need to look for Mc Arthur Foundation for funding. Also share the idea with min Rwamirama he can be of great help.
    Keep me posted on the project.

    Regards,
    Nimpamya Enock
    Seasoned researcher and policy analyst

  10. Dear All,
    I thank you for your kind comments and encouragement, the success of this project is paramount in as far as the awakening the government and it policy makers is concerned to the plight of all indigenous breeds within the country not only the Ankole cattle but also the Zebu, as well as other species like goats e.g the Mubende goat, etc.

  11. Our strength as a country and continent of Africa is about Indigenous animals,crops etc and God’s gift of natural resources. It’s our responsibility to protect them with a mother’s love for future generations. A MUST DO IN OUR TIME.When all our heritage passed on for centuries by our forefathers is gone, the air, water is poisoned and the soils can no longer produce food, ONLY THEN will they know you cannot EAT MONEY. I thankyou.

  12. The greatest challenge of our times is the contest between quality and quantity in terms of food security bearing in mind the population explosion and ever limited earth surface for food production. The protagonists of quality will find this article and the aims thereto very interesting in terms of protecting quality of breed. way to go Ndugu Ceaser.

  13. This is a very good initiative. Concerning carrying out breed promotion and advocacy in the media, I do not know what form this will take, but I strongly recommend that you consider incorporating into your project the rich intangible cultural expressions in praise of this resilient breed. No doubt the Nkore people are and have been historically so fond and attached to their cows. For instance, legend tells that a war was fought between Nkore and Buhweju’s King Kabundami II over theft of the latter’s favourite cow by two famous thieves of Nkore. That two nations could go to war merely over theft of a single cow goes to show this profound attachment. I recommend you consider exploiting these tools to achieve full effect.

  14. The need for preservation of indigenous breeds in both crop and animal production cannot be overstated at this time, when Genetic modification is affecting crop and animal production in Africa. However there is need for sensitization, the desire for high yields and sustained production in communities does not favor local breeds for short term gains needed for commercial viability

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