Within the Uganda IFC Pearl Dairy Development Programme (DDP), Bles Dairies Consultancy guides and coaches DDEs – Dairy Development Executives. These extension workers support over 700 rural dairy farmers, so that they will be able to supply in due time one million litre milk/day to the milk processing company ‘Pearl Dairy Farms Limited.’
No hands-on training in 2020
In 2020, we had scheduled four major campaigns on four technical topics. Unfortunately, hands-on training was not possible this year. Via Skype, Zoom and Webinars we maintained contact with the local extension officers in those countries. But, how do you reach farmers in the rural area, who have no electricity nor internet connection; but do have a smartphone charged by a small solar panel?
We have started to prepare short one-minute videos for each of the technical themes. We sent these videos via the extension workers to the smart phone of the farmers. After each video, the extension workers have called the farmers to discuss what has been presented in the video in order to implement the presented activities on his farm. The videos are very simple and based on pictures with a right and wrong practice and a voice over in the local language.
The consultants have also developed checklists, presentations and assignments which can be handed out to the DDEs in Uganda, with subjects such as tick disease, supplementary feeding, and young stock rearing. But, they have also focused on online trainings, such as a Webinar on the topic of water, since there is still a need to convince local executives and farmers that water is crucial for optimizing their business.