Assessment of factors influencing farmer's attitude towards crossbreeding in selected dairy farms in Gayaza, Wakiso district
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The main objective of this study was to establish the attitude of dairy farmers towards crossbreeding. The study further shows that a significant percentage of the farmers are positive towards crossbreeding technologies (92.31%). However the adoption is still slow because of high costs that are necessary in the starting process and management. Whereas many of the farmers were positive to the general practice of crossbreeding, further interviewing was conducted on the basis of which breeds (exotic and indigenous dairy). Many farmers had a positive attitude towards crossing exotic breeds between themselves (90.77% of farmers) than crossing exotic breeds with indigenous (72.31% of farmers) since the production would increase slightly compared to a drastic increase for the former. The study also found out that of as many of the exotic breeds kept by the farmers on their farms, the Holstein Friesian was the main breed given its characteristic to high milk production and lactation and its adaptability to the tropical climates was registered on highly on their herds. The Holstein Friesian is known to easily crossedwith the local because of the reasons earlier stated but on the other hand because of size. Such factors have been considered for farm survivability and increase production. Some benefits have been registered by the 65 farmers responding positively in the order of endemic disease resistance (37), high milk production (35), climatic tolerance (30), efficient feed conversion (20), reduced calf birth hardships (15), efficient growth rate (12) and less susceptible to lameness (10). And economic benefits were also registered by same number of farmers in the order of increased milk for sell (45), livelihood improvement (40), reduced expenditure on vet drugs (39) and income opportunities(31). However challenges were registered as well in the order of high cost of drugs and management (50), High cost of feeds (48), endemic diseases (39), low productivity (28) and reproductive problems (5) by 65 of the farmers interviewed. Main of these challenges identified are investments in form of cash, labour and resources. Lack of access to external breeding expertise and breeding inputs (AI, stock) are risk factors threatening the sustainable success of the local crossbreeding system. Farmers would benefit from increased exposure to external expertise as they are not aware of their wrong expectations on performance development. However comprehensive solutions can be established by farmers being brought into consistent awareness of crossbreeding strategies like management, A.I services, the science of attaining better results due to crossbreeding by facilitating extension workers who can offer services to the farmers in as regard to such practices and strategies. And Government and partner institutes like nonprofit organizations, should be of help to farmers in as regard to buying high milking, purebred dairy animals and high quality semen at lower costs by meeting a given percentage of costs on animals and semen brought into the country and also subsidies the prices of feeds and veterinary drugs by building on suitable policies that are favourable to farming and promoting by establishing a policy on soft interests to be levied by commercial banks to agricultural farmers.