Advisory services are an important inputs in livestock production. In Uganda, these services were in the past provided mostly by government through the local government extension departments in districts and through the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS). Structural bottlenecks and inadequate funding of the sector, however, have created gaps in extension and advisory service delivery as many smallholder farmers have little or no access to information on production and marketing. Though available in some areas of the country, private extension services are expensive and beyond the reach of many small-scale pig producers.
Although private players and NGOs such as Volunteer Efforts for Development Concern (VEDCO) and World Vision have made interventions in extension service delivery in order to increase productivity, control disease risks and mitigate negative environmental impacts, particularly in water sources, there still remains an unmet need for advisory services among pig farmers at the grass roots.
To address this information gap, the Smallholder Pig Value Chain Development (SPVCD) in Uganda project, which is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), has established partnerships with private sector organizations to offer advisory services through trainings for pig farmers and persons interested in taking up piggery as a business.
Since 2012, Pig Production and Marketing (PPM) Uganda, Limited has cut a niche in the promotion of pig production and marketing through building the capacity of pig farmers engaged in both small and medium-scale production. The training courses offered by PPM are demand driven and farmers willingly pay a small fee for the two-day training.
Recently, ILRI collaborated with PPM on a training course on piggery management for small and medium-scale farmers. The training, which was held in Matugga in Wakiso District, central Uganda on 27-28 February 2015, attracted 93 participants (17 females and 76 males) who were mainly pig farmers and people interested in starting up piggeries as an enterprise.
The ILRI-Uganda team contributed to the training program, and three staff (Danilo Pezo, Peter Lule and Joseph Kungu) made presentations based on the recently developed SPVCD training modules.
In his opening remarks, Pezo, the SPVCD project leader, described the efforts ILRI and partners are making towards improving the livelihoods, incomes and assets of smallholder pig producers, particularly women, in a sustainable manner, through increased productivity, reduced risk and enhanced access in pig value chains. He also gave a presentation on ‘The strategic use of local feed resources in pig feeding’.
Joseph Kungu, an ILRI graduate fellow and researcher at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) discussed topics related to pig herd health management and pork safety while Peter Lule, a research technician at ILRI, facilitated the event. Other speakers at the training included consultants Kees van de Braak (the Netherlands) and Marc Thyssen (Belgium) who are both affiliated to Breeds, Feeds and Meat Limited, Uganda.
In a related development, the Daily Monitor, a leading newspaper in Uganda, is partnering with Pig Production and Marketing Uganda Ltd to offer a pig farming clinic on 30 May 2015 in Matuga (Wakiso). In the past two years the newspaper has organized clinics on dairy and goat production, and has, this year, decided to organize a clinic focused on new techniques to improve pig production, including the preparation of sweet potato silage for pig feeding, control of parasites and biosecurity measures to control African Swine fever. These topics are part of the ILRI training modules on pig production.
ILRI staff and partners have been invited to make presentations on feeding, animal health and management in this year’s clinic. The event offers an opportunity for making use of training materials developed by the SPVCD in collaboration with national partners and to get feedback from farmers on their relevance.
The set of pig production manuals includes modules on: