A new online platform to support farmers with livestock breeding information has been launched for Africa dairy stakeholders.
Funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Dairy Genetics Gain Platform is expected to allow farmers to collect and share genetic information on dairy cattle.
Furthermore, farmers will be able to share information on routine on-farm performance of their dairy herds with their counterparts across the continent.
Accompanying the platform is the ADGG Dairy Tool, a free interactive digital short course, covering cattle breeding and health management practices.
Who is the e-dairying tool aimed at?
Aimed at farmers and extension agents, the free interactive micro-courses, which are accessible through smart phone devices, are available in any country.
Farmers in eastern Africa have the translation tools especially targeted for them.
After a simple registration process, which includes inserting your mobile phone number and verification code sent by SMS, users of the tools can generate their profiles by selecting their country and location.
On completion of the set-up, farmers start to access courses at their fingertips.
The courses are available in English and Kiswahili. Additionally, in Ethiopia, the information is being translated to Amharic for users who may be more comfortable with this language.. On completion of the course, users receive a certificate of completion via the app/tool.
Among the key courses offered are raising of calves and dairy hygiene.
The ‘Ensuring dairy herd hygiene’ course includes information on how Covid-19 affects the farmer and measures required to prevent spreading the virus. This information is shared through a series of infographics, followed by a short quiz to test user knowledge, and understanding on the subject.
“The app provides critical hands-on information to farmers to help them in animal and herd management at critical times in the production cycle and presents information in an attractive and engaging way that can appeal to young farmers,” observed Dr. Julie Ojango, a scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and author of the short course.
According to Dr. Ojango, using the knowledge gained from the ADGG Dairy and other tools, livestock keepers and other livestock producers can contribute to improving the productivity of their livestock, which in turn will improve their livelihoods.
Dairy farmers, especially those based in rural areas lack critical information on breeding, feeding and health care of their herds, according to researchers.
They also lack access to better markets for their calves and milk and its products.
by Mwangi Mumero