Finding that smallholder pig farmers in Uganda can formulate feeds with locally available materials for optimal production is good news to hundreds of thousands of them who hitherto could not afford commercial feeds. These findings are as a result of research conducted by University of Guelph’s Department of Population Medicine, in partnership with ILRI over a period of six months in Masaka district in Uganda with an aim at alleviating constraints of availability of nutritious feeds by smallholder pig producers. The study sought to determine the difference in the average daily gain (ADG) in weight of pigs fed on a silage-based ration, or a ration using local feedstuffs and those fed on off-the shelves feeds. The local diet was based on locally available fresh ingredients (forages, fruit) and purchased feeds (fish, cottonseed, maize bran) developed with nutrient requirements all of which are readily available during the rainy/wet seasons. The second diet made from ensiled sweet potato vines and tubers (ratio 70% vines to 30% tubers).
Initial results revealed that though pigs fed on commercial feeds (off-the shelf and pre-packaged) delivered the best results, there was considerable weight gain among the pigs fed on the locally formulated and affordable diets (local and silage diets). This is an exciting development at the backdrop of pig producers who struggle to find the right quantity and quality of feed for their animals thus compromising on their productivity.