Uganda pork producers to benefit from improved pig breeds

Uganda is one of the best pork consuming countries in Africa; it has per capita consumption estimated at more than 3.4kg per person per year according to FAO estimates of 2011 and is the highest in the region.
calendar icon 26 June 2018
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The country is also said to be the largest importer of pork and pork products from neighbouring countries and outside Africa in the East Africa region.

The number of pigs in the country has increased more than tenfold from less than 200,000 three decades ago to roughly 3.2 million according to the 2008 National Livestock Census. The country has suffered inbreeding of national herd due to limited specialised training in pig breeding, absence of efficient Artificial Insemination services and the lack of a standard identification program.

During a pig farmer’s training at the recently concluded Pork Expo Africa event which took place from 17th – 19th May 2018 in Mandela National Stadium, Kampala Uganda, Breeders of Denmark a pig breeding stock exporter from Denmark and Breeds Feeds and Meats Limited a Ugandan company producing pig breeds, feeds and meats signed an agreement to kick start selling of pig breeds in Uganda imported from Denmark.

Speaking at the event before signing of the agreement, the Managing Director of Breeds Feeds and Meats Uganda Limited Mr Philip Borel said; “Grand Parent stock was imported from Denmark about two years ago and even though we had produced enough pigs for breeding by the first quarter of the year, selling was not possible until an agreement allowing this is signed.” The breeds imported include Yorkshire, Landrace and Duroc. The company is to sale hybrids of Landrace and Yorkshire including Duroc Semen to pork producers in Uganda and the East African region. The company is the first of its kind in East Africa.

Initially, capable Ugandan pork producers used to import hybrid pigs from South Africa but apart from the process being complicated and time consuming it is also very expensive. One prominent pig farmer who imported hybrid boars from South Africa in 2010 claim to have spent about $4000 equivalent to about 10,000,000/= with the exchange rate of that time.

Mr Christopher Mulindwa the general manager of Pig production and Marketing Uganda Limited the organiser of the Pork Expo Africa welcomed the initiative calling it another important step in the development of Uganda’s pork industry. “The pigs sold for breeding had no known history of performance in both weight gain and carcass quality due to unsupervised cross breeding and poor record keeping leading pork producers into losses. This is the time to change from traditional to modern and commercial pig farming in Uganda”. He also emphasised the need for pork producers to attend training, use of proper feeds and management to enable increased profitability from these new breed-lines.

Over the last seven years pig farming has experienced fundamental improvement in the number of pigs reared and access to inputs. This has been possible despite the limited government support to the pig subsector and the fact that pigs are not considered among the 20 priority sub-programs of the country’s Agricultural Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP). The notable improvements include the introduction of specialised pig feeds by Devenish Nutrition, the opening of a country office by International Livestock Research Institute to conduct research on the pig value chain and development of best bet innervations, opening of pork processing plants, establishment of large and modern pork eating places commonly known as “Pork Joints” establishment of large farms and much more.

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