Researchers from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University in collaboration with Veterinary Officers from Vetline Services, Mukono District have trained farmers in Mpigi and Wakiso districts on pig productivity and African Swine fever management.  

The More Pork Project Co-Investigator, Dr Donald Kugonza

Under their project titled “Improving pig productivity and income through an environmentally sustainable and gender inclusive integrated intervention package”, the researchers led by Dr Donald Kugonza have equipped over 300 pig farmers in Buwama, Nkozi, Kyengera, Wakiso, Kakiri, Mende and Kasangati Town Council with skills on Artificial Insemination. The farmers have also been trained on the identification and management of diseases in pigs, vaccination, identification of the best breeds, feeding of pigs, and biosecurity.  

The activity intended to boost pig herd genetics, productivity and marketability of the products is a component of the More Pork Project supported by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Through the More Pork Project, ILRI works with partners worldwide to enhance the roles that livestock play in food security and poverty alleviation, principally in Africa and Asia. The project is coordinated by Dr Karen Marshall, Principal Scientist at ILRI. It is implemented in four districts in Uganda namely; Mukono, Mpigi, Wakiso and Masaka.

Dr Leonard Kawule training Kasangati Town Council pig farmers on artificial insemination

During the five-day activities that started on 22nd November 2021 in Buwama, Mpigi District and ended in Kasangati Town Council, Wakiso District on 26th November 2021, the trainers including Mr Robert Natumanya from CAES, Makerere University, Dr Leonard Kawule from Vetline Services, Mukono and Nalongo Nankya Ruth from the same company extensively trained the farmers on the process of Artificial Insemination, highlighting the benefits and cautioning them on the mistakes. The farmers were specifically trained on the critical success factors of Artificial Insemination. These include proper heat detection by the farmer, supply of quality semen doses, optimal timing of insemination, good farm management practices and herd fertility.

Kasangati Town Council pig farmers with the project team after the training

Makerere University initiated the Artificial Insemination (AI) programme with an aim of addressing the many challenges faced by farmers in pig breeding in Uganda. Artificial Insemination is the insertion and delivery of semen into the reproductive tract of a female pig. The process involves semen collection, extension, evaluation, packaging, storage and insemination. Artificial Insemination is cost effective, reduces the threat of contagious diseases especially African Swine Fever; increases farmers access to quality breeds and eliminates in-breeding. 

Through the Pig Artificial Insemination Technology, pig farmers have been provided with a number of services including farm breeding plans or programmes, artificial insemination materials, training of artificial insemination technicians, research and consultancy on artificial pig breeding and management and provision of semen extender to semen processors.

Camborough local crossbred piglets using artificial insemination

In the course of the trainings, the farmers were introduced to the best breeds used for semen production for Artificial Insemination. These include Large White, Camboroughand and Single Ejaculate.  

Highlighting the commercial value of pigs, Dr Kugonza urged the farmers to embrace Artificial Insemination. With Artificial Insemination, 15 high quality piglets can be produced at once, minimizing the cost of production while increasing the benefits. In order to improve productivity, Dr Kugonza cautioned the farmers to regularly vaccinate and develop a good feeding plan for their animals. In regard to African Swine Fever, Dr. Kugonza reminded famers to always test pigs before buying them, and to endeavour to notify the authorities in case of infections.  

Mr Natumanya addressing Kakiri pig farmers

In their presentations, Mr Robert Natumanya, Dr. Kawule Leonard and Nalongo Nankya Ruth, reiterated the importance of Artificial Insemination, vaccination and good feeding in improving productivity. Guiding participants on the best Artificial Insemination practices, Dr Kawule asked the farmers to always consider the age and weight of the pigs before engaging in the exercise. In order to ensure safety of their animals, Dr. Kawule asked the farmers to try as much as possible to avoid visitors at their farms. The trainers also cautioned farmers against fake veterinary doctors.

Dr Donald Kugonza training farmers in Kyengera Town Council

In their submissions, the farmers appealed for expert support in dealing with Artificial Insemination. They also asked for more guidance on vaccination and the best drugs for treating their animals. The farmers also appealed for support towards marketing their products.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Kugonza acknowledged ILRI for funding the project. He appreciated the farmers and veterinary doctors for turning up in big numbers. Dr Kugonza expressed gratitude to the University Management for providing a conducive environment for research and innovations.

Compiled by
Hasifa Kabejja & Mariam Kasemiire

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