Characterization of pig production in Gulu and Soroti districts in northern and eastern Uganda

Article Authors: K Ikwap, M Jacobson, N Lundeheim, D O Owiny, G W Nasinyama, C Fellstrom and J Erume


Owing to loss of cattle and goats during the recent civil unrest, pig farming has become popular in northern and eastern Uganda as a quick mitigation to poverty. This study was carried out to describe the characteristics of pig production in these regions. Using a cross-sectional design, data were collected from 96 households (51 from Gulu district, northern Uganda and 45 from Soroti district, eastern Uganda) raising pigs with suckling and weaned piglets. The households were selected using the snowballing method.

The households were predominantly headed by adult men, of which 97% had attended at least primary education. The mean numbers of suckling, weaned, growing and adult pigs per household in Gulu and Soroti were 8 and 7.3, 4.8 and 5.3, 2.3 and 2.6 and 3.1 and 3.1, respectively, with no significant difference (p > 0.05) between the districts. Overall, the majority of households (64%, n=96) kept local breeds of pigs. The most common management method was tethering, as practiced by 67% of the study households. Home-made feeds were the most common (88%, n=96) and the wives/women provided much of the labour (60%, n=96). However, in only 23% of the households, women owned and made decisions on the pigs. Male children also owned and made decisions on pigs in 8% of the households. Natural breeding of sows with a shared boar was the most common practice (88%, n=96). The litter size at birth was 6 to 10 piglets in 78% (n= 96) of the households. Based on the clinical signs reported by the households, 38% and 23% of the herds experienced problems with diarrhoea and respiratory diseases, respectively. In total, 39% of the households were receiving professional veterinary care, when pigs fall sick. In conclusion, pig production around regional urban centers in northern and eastern Uganda is largely smallholder, practiced by farmers who have attended at least primary education, tether their pigs, depend on labour provided largely by housewives and there is inadequate veterinary care. The findings of this study point at a need for increased involvement of women in decision making in pig farming, increased pig veterinary care and investigation of the causes of diseases such as diarrhoea in order to support this major livelihood resource for the poor in northern and eastern Uganda, especially women and children.

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