News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

ILRI project offers solutions for improving smallholder pig production in western Kenya

A smallholder pig farmer in western Kenya: Findings from an ILRI-led study  will help to improve feeding practices and  sow productivity on smallholder pig farms in western Kenya (photo credit: ILRI).

Small-scale pig farming in western Kenya is an important source of family income. Pigs kept are of local breeds that are either tethered or left free to scavenge for food. However, one of the main challenges that pig farmers in western Kenya face is inadequate feed supply.

From 2007 to 2009, a collaborative project led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) carried out research towards improving pig production and health in smallholder farms in western Kenya.

The project has recently published two journal articles, one featuring a descriptive study of smallholder pig feeding practices (Tropical Animal Health and Production, January 2012) and the other highlighting the results of a baseline study on the productivity of local sows (African Journal of Agricultural Research, December 2011).

The findings of the descriptive study of 164 pig farms in Busia District revealed the need for more research on the nutrient composition of the identified local feeds. Additionally, there is need to develop and validate simple combinations of local feeds to formulate balanced feed rations that smallholder farmers can afford.

The baseline study, which was carried out in Busia and Kakamega Districts, assessed the reproductive performance of local sows, investigated the challenges faced by the farmers, and explored opportunities for improving small-scale production of breeding pigs. The baseline data will be useful in identifying key intervention areas and exploring opportunities for improvement in the sector.

The project was undertaken in partnership with the University of Guelph, the University of Nairobi, and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.

Other outputs from the project have been featured in two earlier posts on this blog:

Mutua FK, Dewey C, Arimi S, Ogara W, Levy M and Schelling E. 2012. A description of local pig feeding systems in village smallholder farms of Western Kenya. Tropical Animal Health and Production, Online First 5 January 2012, doi 10.1007/s11250-011-0052-6

Mutua FK, Dewey CE, Arimi SM, Schelling E, Ogara WO and Levy M. 2011. Reproductive performance of sows in rural communities of Busia and Kakamega Districts, Western Kenya. African Journal of Agricultural Research 6(31): 6485-6491.

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