I am Luyinda Emmanuel, a 26-year-old Ugandan agriprenuer with over three years’ experience in the piggery agribusiness sector in Uganda. I have certificates in pork production and pig artificial insemination , and I am the co-founder and CEO of Village Pork(U) limited, the “Best producer of the only meat to meet your needs”.
Village Pork is a pork production company using low-cost feeding technology combined with superior pig breeds to produce high quality lean and fresh pork for the market. We aim at plugging the pork deficit in Uganda.
I grew up on my father’s farm and hence developed passion for farming at a young age. Our dream is to have the largest pig farm in East Africa, complete with a processing plan.
On a rainy November morning, a barefooted, teary young lady stands beneath cover of a gigantic mango tree. Clad in what looks like a school uniform and clutching a pair of sandals, she is drenched in a fair measure of what were the last of that season’s rains.
That a girl who should have been school at such a time was riskily standing under a tree during a downpour, looking terrible as she was, drove me to want to seek the cause of her misfortune.
Jane, as she introduced herself, went on to reveal that she had just been denied the opportunity to take her final secondary school exams. This came after having sacrificed to repeat the final year in order to make a good showing at the final exams.
It wasn’t the teacher’s fault; Jane had been unable to pay her school fees for the previous two terms. Still, Jane wasn’t to blame for this. Apparently affairs on her father’s small farm had taken a turn for the worse at the beginning of the year.
Most of the crop had been decimated, and most of the cows hit with a local bout of foot and mouth disease, among other seemingly innumerable challenges. It meant that Jane and her three siblings’ school fees had moved down the pecking order of their family’s priorities.
By now, the rains had tapered off as if in sympathy of this young woman’s predicament.
Jane’s plight is the reality of life for many youth, especially young women and girls, in my community. They would like to continue with their education but the shackles of poverty hold them captive, restraining any chance at a decent life.
Ideally, if such young people fail to pursue education for any reason, they should be systematically afforded proper business skills from which they can begin to build small businesses to develop themselves and support their families. That very idea is at the center of how we work at Village Pork Farm.
Several months after I first met her, Jane visited Village Pork farm for a duration of 2 weeks. Having only known about the traditional techniques of raising pigs in Uganda, which are liable to a high disease burden, are labor intensive, and result in slow growth of the animals, this was a chance for her to interface with a modern and highly productive pig farming business.
She was impressed with our insistence on efficient utilization of resources, using a relatively small piece of land to mount our operation. She was taught the most fundamental aspect of the business: management. One of our workers joked to her that whenever a pig looked at you, it would be saying “take care of me and I’ll take care of your bank account”.
It was emphasized to her that a successful piggery venture relies on a systematic set of procedures followed on the farm and revised every so often to keep in tune with the best farming practices. She was introduced to our breed selection process, the decisions behind our choice of artificial inseminations, immunization schedules, bio-security measures, feeding formulae calibration according to a pig’s age and purpose on the farm, etc.
She also learned about other techniques we had adapted to the local farming environment, such as making silage from sweet potato vines that could be stored for months, as opposed to just discarding the vines after harvests. Most impressive of them all is our Indigenous Micro-Organism technology (I.M.O), where micro-organisms are introduced into a stratified floor system made of several materials.
These organisms break down the pigs’ fecal matter, making the sties smell-free, free of disease-causing pathogens, and less labour-intensive. The pigs can also feed on some of the materials the floor is made from – something called cycle feeding – thereby reducing feeding requirements by 30%.
She was motivated by the how profitable piggery was in Uganda. Lastly we introduced her to the concepts of market assessment, product placement and how to best sell one’s farm produce to maximize profits.
After one year, Jane now runs a small modern farm supplying the local pork joints. Jane’s experience represents how we strive to actualize our vision as a community business: run a sustainably profitable business while equipping local youth with the skills and knowledge to establish their own business to support the wider community.
Under that scheme, we have so far hosted 25 youth at the farm, and many of these have gone on to start their own farm with our guidance.
The USD $5000 will enable us scale our operations to manage the increasing supply contracts as well as enabling more youth learn and join the trade.
- Within the first month, USD $1500 will be used to purchase 10 adult sows from the national breeding center. These will be artificially inseminated with semen imported from The Netherlands (worth $300) in the same month.
- Feed worth USD $2000 will be purchased to cover the entire project period.
- We will spend USD $1000 on structural expansion in the third month in preparation for the farrowing of the pregnant sows.
- We will spend USD $200 on iron and vitamin supplements, antibiotics and nipple drinkers.
The project will be run as follows:
The sows will be artificially inseminated and give birth after 115 days (about 4 months) to about 100 piglets. The piglets will be raised at the farm until 2 months of age, after which half will be given to the youth to start their own farms and other half raised for the benefit of the farm.
The mother sows will be inseminated again in the 6th month of the project and deliver another 100 piglets in the 10th month. Again, half will go to the youth and half to the farm. We will ensure that the youth trained at the farm mentor other youth once they start their farms
By the end of the one year project, 50 youth will have started their farms after the training at the Village Pork. Their farms will be self-sustainable as feeding costs, which account for 70-85% of inputs, will be covered by the maize and sweet potatoes(for silage) grown in abundance in the community.
Once they start operating their farms, they will have a minimum revenue of USD $1800 by the end of their first year of business, with exponential increase in returns in the subsequent years.
Success of the project will be measured based on the total number of youth trained at the farm in comparison with those who eventually start their own farm.
Over 300 other jobs will be created indirectly through spins offs: butchermen, suppliers, distributors, pig farm managers and many more. A positive impact will be made on the livelihood of workers and other employees as they will earn a living to support their children’s education, basic health care and other essential needs.
This venture will continue to ignite the passion of agriculture among youth in my community.
Join us in realizing the dreams of our community with the idea of Pigs for Prosperity.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Emmanuel Luyinda (Uganda) – eluyinda[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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