Last week in Mukono, the International Livestock Research Institute convened an inception and planning workshop for the new ‘more pork by and for the poor’ project. With funds from Irish Aid, the project will catalyse emerging smallholder pig value chains in Uganda for food security and poverty reduction.
The new project builds on the results of the smallholder pig value chain development (SPVCD) project that was funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (2011-2014). The new project is part of the wider pig value chain development in Uganda program of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish which comprises several associated projects to strengthen food and nutritional security through transformation of pig value chains.
At the inception workshop, project leader Emily Ouma introduced the project pointing out some of the challenges and constraints in the value chain, including:
- Poor husbandry practices and high mortality rates from diseases such as African swine fever (ASF) due to poor implementation of biosecurity measures.
- Inbreeding and poor selection of breeding stock.
- Seasonality of feed supply and lack of capacity to develop nutritionally balanced feed rations.
- High costs and poor quality of commercial feeds.
- Lack of appropriate organisational models to enhance access to quality inputs, services and pig markets.
- Pig farmers lack voice – and tend to carry out individual sales.
- Poor access to extension, quality animal health services and financial services.
- High transaction costs incurred by pig traders – transport and search costs.
- No structured pig meat inspection and lack of capacity by meat inspectors.
- Poor waste management – e.g. abattoirs (drainage of blood into water bodies).
- Practices that could increase the risk for foodborne and occupational diseases./li>
- Poor household nutrition.
She also drew attention to the project’s focus on gender, ensuring that women as well as men benefit along the chain.
According to Ouma, the new four-year research-for-development project will lead to improved food and nutritional security for poor households, improved livelihoods for value chain actors, and better performance of smallholder pig value chain systems in selected areas in Uganda. It will achieve these by testing and piloting best bet options (entry points) to improve on-farm productivity, household nutrition, and efficiency and pork safety in the marketing chain. These will produce validated options to form part of an integrated intervention strategy and an evidence base demonstrating the benefits such a strategy can achieve.
The workshop was opened by Dr. Chris Rutebarika, Assistant Commissioner, Disease Control in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). He prefaced his opening words saying “we are a pork-loving country, despite the problems associated with pigs.”
He highlighted the problems caused to farmers by African swine fever, which he said can be prevented by established good practices that cut the transmission cycle. He talked about feeds and feeding challenges and suggested that the current pig genepool needs to be improved: “Without proper genetics we will remain with stunted pigs” as well as pigs unable to resist prevalent diseases. He also touched on issues around food and environmental safety and pig waste management.
Finally, he reflected on the project design itself. It is timely he said, it builds on the past few years work, and it will build capacities. He called on partners present to make sure that results of research in the five focus districts need to be ‘augmented’ so they reach all of Uganda’s 111 districts. He also called on participants not to forget women’s roles in pig production – men need to grow their own pigs and not just sell the pigs produced by women!
After this rousing call to action by Dr. Rutebarika, participants spent the first day reviewing the initial set of results and interventions (mainly derived from the SPVCD project), and validating project choices, priorities and impact pathways to address feed, genetics, health, market, and food safety constraints. The second day was spent in detailed planning for the coming 12 months.
See presentations from the workshop:
- Introducing ILRI in Uganda
- Update on the Smallholder Pig Value Chains Development in Uganda (SPVCD) Project
- More pork by and for the poor: Catalyzing emerging smallholder pig value chains in Uganda for food security and poverty reduction
- Introducing the Uganda pig value chain impact pathways
- Initial steps for the Uganda Pig Multi-stakeholder Platform
- Initial information on site selection for Uganda pig value chain projects