Government has been urged to amend key agricultural development strategies like NDPIII and the agro-industrialization program to specifically prioritize pig production in Uganda.
The call was made by officials from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), while meeting the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah, on Friday, 22.
Led by Ben Lukuyu who represents ILRI in Uganda, these asked government to initiate steps towards the development of a Livestock Master plan that includes a prioritization and investment plan for the livestock sector, including piggery.
Lukuyu also called on government to recognize the importance of the sector for smallholder livelihoods and call for accelerated investments and performance of the pig sector.
“In the current documents, piggery is lumped with meat and is not singled out. This makes it difficult to attract investments particularly from donors who are looking for where to put their investments,” Lukuyu said.
He emphasized the need to raise the profile of the pig sector in Uganda by attracting public and private sector investment, given that many Ugandans provide a big consumption platform for the sector.
“If we do not act now, Uganda’s pork and production growth rate could decline despite the sector’s big productivity improvements to date, which could reduce the country’s regional competitiveness,” Lukuyu added.
Emily Ouma, a Senior Scientist in charge of Policies, Institutes and Livelihoods Program at ILRI, cited policy gaps in Uganda’s animal health including weak policy and regulatory implementation of health services delivery and disease control, especially the African swine fever.
Ouma called for the drafting of a national forage seed policy that can establish a national forage seed system that in turn ensures sustainable availability and use of affordable quality seeds and planting materials.
“Government needs to establish policies related to monitoring pig movement due to trade, as well as pig restocking, pig exchange with neighboring districts and pork safety,” she added.
Speaker Oulanyah noted that the pig sector growing everyday, saying that if Ugandans engaged in it, they would benefit in relation to livelihood improvement.
Oulanyah added that it is important to adopt the policies recommended by ILRI so as to push the sector forward.
“The budgeting process is ongoing and Parliament will receive the Budget Framework Paper in December. Discussions on these policies should be captured the end of this year so that this sector can benefit from the next budget,” said Oulanyah.
The Speaker urged the ILRI team to engage in discussions with NAADS, as well as ably sensitize potential famers in the sector on how handle the animals.
“You need to use MorePork as a transformational livestock element to engage the people to get involved in livestock production. This program should be used to empower communities in the rural areas because many of these people have a lot of land,” the Speaker said.
He also urged the technical officials at the ILRI to incorporate an impact assessment system in their planning, indicating how their work promote the pig sector has changed the life of a person in the village.