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Livestock value chain/Uganda - Roots, tubers and banana plants are next-generation pig feeds

10 janvier 2016

In a research conducted by scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute, the International Potato Center, Iowa State University-Uganda Program and the Ugandan government, found out that demand for animal source foods in Uganda is rising as the country’s population continues to grow alongside improved income and urbanization. As part of the Expanding Utilization of Roots, Tubers and Bananas on Reducing Post-harvest Losses (RTB-ENDURE) project, which is implemented by the CGIAR Research Program on roots, tubers and bananas, pork in particular has become an increasingly important food in the diets of Ugandans. Uganda has high per capita consumption of pork meat in Sub-Saharan Africa with a significant growth in consumption rates from the 1960s, when it accounted for only 1–2% of the per capita consumption of meat, to at least 30% of the 10 kg consumed per capita/year. The RTB-ENDURE project is funded by the European Union and implemented with the technical support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) with the aim to improve food availability and income generation through better post-harvest management and expanded utilization of root, tuber and banana crops in Uganda. Despite its growing popularity among both farmers and consumers, smallholder pig production in Uganda is faced with key constraints including limited access of farmers to a reliable supply of quality pig feed and the high cost of feed which can account for up to 62% of the total production cost. Among common fodder given to pigs in Uganda are sweet potato, banana and other root and tuber residues such as vines, leaves and peels. However, new research reveals that at time of harvest there is an excess of feed that is subsequently wasted as small-scale pig farmers in Uganda struggle to conserve fodder. The results are part of a qualitative study entitled; Perceptions and practices of farmers on the utilization of sweet-potato, and other root tubers, and banana for pig feeding in smallholder crop-livestock systems in Uganda, which was undertaken in two districts of Uganda with high pig and sweet-potato production in order to understand how farmers use and perceive roots, tubers and banana crops as pig feed. The study shows that pig production in these districts is dominated by small-scale farmers who produce both crops and livestock, and depend heavily on crop residues for feed. Sweet-potato in particular was found to be the leading contributor to pig diet in rural areas, with farmers mostly using fresh, raw vines (70%) as compared to roots and peels. In peri-urban areas where farmers have greater access to commercial feeds, they typically mixed crop residues with commercial concentrates. However, the conservation of crop residues is not a common practice and without access to new preservation technologies farmers can waste between 37–40% of their feed during periods of excess when the amount of feed exceeds demand by the herd. In contrast, during times of feed scarcity many farmers must sell off their stock to cope, subsequently lowering pig market prices and affecting the profitability of their businesses.



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