Pig farming is widely practised in all regions of Uganda with high concentrations around the central region.
Unlike other key agricultural enterprises, over the last three decades, pig farming has experienced fundamental improvement in the number of pigs reared and households that rear at least one pig.
The marketing channels available in the pig industry depend on available pig production types adopted by farmers. These dictate the type of product sold and who they sell to.
Farrow to Wean
This is where piglets are born and reared up to weaning, then sold to growers and fatteners. It involves marketing of piglets or growers for breeding only.
Breeds kept must be on demand in farmer's locality and farmer must follow the basics of scientific breeding in order to meet market requirements.
Products from this system include piglets, gilts, pregnant sows and boars.
The products attract both formal and informal markets.
Informal markets include farmers who are stocking for the first time and those replacing their worn out/sold stock or poorly performing pigs at their farms.
Formal markets include non-government and government organisations.
Farrow to Finish
This is where piglets are born, weaned, grown, and fattened in one unit. Contrast with piglets moving to other operators at each major stage of their development.
It involves marketing of pork or live pigs for slaughter to abattoirs (slaughtering houses).
It is a better type to adopt in areas where market for piglets is limited however it is capital intensive.
For pigs being fattened for slaughter, the market options include abattoirs and live pig traders, also a farmer can decide to operate a pork joint alongside the operation in order to sell their pork directly to consumers.
This is a pig raising type in which piglets grown on the farm for pork are continuously bought from breeders after sale.
It does not involve keeping of sows or boars for reproduction, after sale of the current stock a farmer orders piglets from breeders to continue with his/her farming activities.
Like farrow to finish type of pig production, fatteners also target abattoirs and live pig traders.
It is easy to stock poor quality pigs hence finding challenges in meeting market quantity and quality demands.
Some pig farmers may decide to combine farrow to wean and finishing as a system type of choice, others may be forced into the system type due to the lack of market for their piglets. To avoid such challenge, a marketing plan must guide production.
Pig farming in Uganda
This has been possible despite limited government support to the sub-sector and the fact that pigs are not considered among the 20 priority sub-programmes of the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP).
This notwithstanding, about 17.8 per cent (that is, 1.1 million) of all households own at least one pig in Uganda. The number of pigs increased from 0.19 million in 1980 to 3.2 million in 2008.
The current daily consumption of pigs (pigs slaughtered per day) in Kampala city alone is estimated to be between 300 and 500. These include about 75-80 pigs that are slaughtered at the main pig abattoir of Wambizi cooperative society in Nalukolongo in Kampala city.
The per capita consumption of pork is 3.4 kg/person/year, the highest in the region. This level of consumption is reported to have increased 10 times more than it used to be 30 years ago. The market for pig products along the pig value chain is however disorganized, has many value chain actors, and many service providers, whose activities are not well coordinated .
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has documented both constraints and opportunities on Uganda's pig value chain.
The International Potato Center has done research on feed conservation technologies and Makerere University on breeding and other relevant topics.
Altogether have increased trust in sector viability as business as well as availing necessary information required for planning and running successful pig business operations.
The recent census puts Uganda's population at 34.6 million, representing an increase of 10.4 million since the 2002 census.
Uganda has the highest per capita annual consumption of pork in East Africa at 3.4kg. An increase in population leads to increased demand for pork.
The growing income level of people in Uganda makes them afford buying pork products leading to increased demand, mostly of processed pork products.