Pig production is a major source of livelihoods for over 1.1 million households in Uganda. Mainly kept by smallholder farmers under backyard systems, the pig is preferred because it grows fast, and eats leftover food and crop residues.
It can generally convert poor resources into a high-value animal-source food for sale or home consumption. For many farmers, the pig is a living bank because it can easily be sold for cash to meet domestic financial needs such as school fees and it provides financial capital required to grow crops.
Uganda’s per capita consumption of pork is the highest in East Africa at 3.4 kg per capita per year. However, growth of the pig value chain is limited by various production, marketing, policy and institutional constraints.
In recent years, the Livestock and Fish program has worked in Uganda with partners to overcome these constraints. This work has been supported by the European Commission, the International Fund for International Development and Irish Aid.
The program’s work in Uganda seeks to improve the livelihoods, incomes and assets of smallholder pig producers, particularly women, in a sustainable manner, by increasing productivity, reducing risk, and improving market access in pig value chains. The initial EC-IFAD funded (2011-2013) project was implemented in three districts – Kamuli, Mukono and Masaka A follow-on (2014-2016) Irish Aid funded project builds on the results with two additional districts, Lira and Hoima. Both projects have been implemented in collaboration with the “Safe Food Fair Food” (SFFF) project on pork safety and zoonoses.
Activities implemented by the project include:
- Situational analysis. The study analyzed past trends; current status and the likely future directions in pig value chains in Uganda; and identified the underlying challenges and opportunities faced by different actors in the smallholder pig production value chains at national and regional levels.
- Outcome mapping. A 2012 workshop identified partner commitment to the project and designed implementation strategies to cause desired behavioural changes in the three selected districts.
- Assessing value chains. A toolkit to analyze the pig value chain in Uganda was developed and 1,400 pig farmers from 35 villages in the three districts were surveyed. The toolkit has been implemented to an additional 1,550 pig farmers from 18 villages in Lira and Hoima districts. The study characterized the smallholder pig systems, the role of pigs in people’s livelihoods, gender roles and decision making, as well as perceptions on food safety, nutrition and zoonoses. The study helped to identify constraints and potential entry points to improve the value chain.
- Benchmarking. The pig value chains benchmarking surveys in the three districts highlighted the different players, identified information gaps regarding value chain performance, identified constraints along the value chains, and obtained baseline information for monitoring outcomes arising from interventions. A total of 863 pig value chain actors including feed and drug stockists, farmers, breeding boar service providers, pig traders, pork retailers, and village veterinary service providers were covered.
- Assessing animal health and pork safety. The project sampled sera, blood and faeces from 1,200 pigs and 90 village boars to determine the prevalence of and risks associated with the main diseases and zoonoses that affects pigs in Uganda, i.e., African swine fever (ASF), porcine cysticercosis as well as internal and external parasites. A biobank of pig specimens including blood, serum and faeces was established for further study.
- Characterizing local feed resources. To compile information on the nutritive value of locally-used feeds and to test the quality of commercial feeds and feed ingredients, 220 samples of different local feed resources were analyzed. This showed a wide variation in quality of feed ingredients often leading to sub-standard diets. Further, knowledge gaps were researched and field studies with pig farmers assessed the integration of forages in crop-pig production systems. This confirmed that forages (“weeds”, legumes and grasses) are important components in pig feeding systems so improved forages have been introduced and, so far, about 120 pig farmers have planted small plots of improved forages.
- Developing training modules. Seven training modules covering key capacity constraints identified in the value chain were developed and serve as the curriculum of courses run by various extension and other service providers such as Pig Production and Marketing Uganda Ltd.
- Assessing capacity building outcomes of implementation of biosecurity protocols for ASF control. The study aims to identify hotspots for ASF transmission and spread along the pig value chain, as well as feasible biosecurity measures for disease prevention. Randomized Controlled Trials are being undertaken with around 2,000 smallholder farmers.
- Improving waste management. With the SFFF project, the only urban pig slaughterhouse in Uganda is piloting ways to make better, and safer, use of abattoir waste. These include a biogas digester, studies on energy demand, and assessments of the use of the biodigester on pork safety.
- Assessing the feasibility of pig business hubs and a model pig abattoir. Two consultants were hired to design a centralized slaughter facility and the development of a business plan for the operation of the abattoir as a private-public partnership. One of the consultants is also carrying out scoping and feasibility studies as well as necessary baseline activities to pilot test a pig business hub that will improve market linkages and business development services for the Kabonera-Kyanamukaka pig farmers cooperative.
- Establishing multi-stakeholder platforms. National and regional platforms were established in 2014 to foster and support collective participation of all pig value chain actors and stakeholders in resolving various production, marketing and policy constraints in the pig industry. Having identified feed as the main constraint, the platforms are lobbying the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to revise the feeds policy to enforce quality standards of pig feeds.
- Predicting live weight of animals. A study to develop body weight prediction equations based on various body measurements showed that live weight can be accurately estimated using two or more pig body measurements. That estimation tool will empower pig farmers by providing them with an accurate estimate for the animal live weight and giving them better bargaining power when selling their pigs. The next steps are to develop an App for farmers to get the estimates from an ICT provider, and to develop equations relating live weight with carcass weight, as traders estimate the latter while bargaining with farmers.
- Assessing consumer access to pork and animal source foods, and intra-household control of resources for enhancing food and nutrition security: In collaboration with Agriculture for Nutrition and Health CGIAR Research Program, a household survey covering 600 households was carried out to identify consumer constraints in accessing animal source foods and intra household control of resources. The evidence from this study will be used to identify nutrition related interventions for improving food and nutrition security.