High Levels of Negligence Concern Piggery Value Chain Players

High Levels of Negligence Concern Piggery Value Chain Player

BY D K SEBUNYA: Players in the piggery value chain are concerned about the negligence towards the sector, which is portrayed at various stages along the value chain. They say the negligence starts from the farmers and extends up to the government.

Speaking at a preparatory meeting of the upcoming piggery value chain symposium, Gudula Nayiga Basazza, a renowned white meat value chain promoter and the chief convener of the spotlighting event, pointed out that most of the players in the piggery value chain don’t take the industry seriously. This explains why, on average, piggery farmers across the country look after only three animals, yet they could have more compared to the market.

“Piggery is one of these value chains whose market is readily available, especially for pork. The animals can also be sold at any time, irrespective of their stage of life. You can sell a piglet, a grower, or an adult. Now the challenge is consistency in production, which is affected by a number of factors, one of which is knowledge of the right breed a farmer should have. On average, a farmer has three pigs, and most of them have the poor local breed, hoping that one day they will make serious money out of them,” she stated.

According to Nayiga, various companies have started piggery insemination to improve breed quality, but the take-up is still low. She adds that another concern is how the farmers take care of their animals, especially in feeding, as most of these animals grow haphazardly.

“Pigs are left to wander around and eat from every dustbin. This shows that they lack knowledge that pigs are animals that need care in feeding, for example, 70 percent carbohydrates, 20 percent protein, and other nutrients. It’s as if they are not taking it seriously as a business. If one has an average of three pigs, is that a business or a hobby? Can you be counted among farmers?”

Another concern stems from the untamed swine fever pandemics, which occasionally devastate the industry, causing millions of pigs to lose their lives. Yet, precautionary measures are often neglected by the farmers as they let their animals wander around, which predisposes them to infection. In other cases, it is the farmers who transmit the disease to the animals. To overcome this, they call on agricultural insurers to include swine fever in their packages.

The uncensored feeds from all sources are another problem the value chain players want to address because some of them lead to uneven development of the animals, which is undesirable for the market’s needs.

“The feeds are not only highly priced for an ordinary farmer, whose pig has a low food conversion ratio, and feel like buying them just enriches the feed company with less or no impact on the animals. The kind of feeds that we use today, from everywhere, end up making pigs have a lot of fat compared to lean meat. Yet, the market today is demanding lean meat. Gone are the days for fatty pork,” Nayiga says.

This negligence, among other factors, is said to be crippling the piggery industry as production diminishes in both quality and quantity, which would otherwise be very profitable in both local and international markets.

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