As of 1993, farming within urban areas was criminal. However, even when the city council authorities permitted vegetable growing, poultry farming and piggery was still unacceptable, owing to the stench.
The trends have, however, changed with the city authorities equipping urban farmers on how to not only grow crops but also rear poultry and animals within the urban centres.
Dr Justine Alinaitwe, of Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) Kyanja farms, intimates that pigs have a short generation interval, can eat any feed, provide higher carcass dressing percentage, are easier to dress, quickly adapt to any environment, their faeces make good fertilisers and can be recycled into livestock feeds.
Why urban pig farming
Dr Alinaitwe says rather than being chased by officials as you try to make a living, piggery is ideal as one can gain income in a small space.
Seeing that the floor is warm, the pigs do not have to amass excess fat for warmth as is with concrete floors.
Therefore, pork from an urban farm is leaner and healthier. While people have got various pig breeds, at the KCCA farms, they have got the large white and thee landrace which they interbreed to give many fast growing lean piglets.
Dr Alinaitwe, says one of the things that makes it impossible to rear pigs in urban areas is the structural setup which aids stench build-up. “The pig stys ought to be well aerated if we are to avoid the stench,” Dr Alinaitwe says. Rather than building a full scale wall which hinders air flow, she advises farmers to build a short wall; one metre high, then mesh going up to the roof. The wall could be made of bricks, concrete or wood, depending on what one desires. “Do not join the roof at the centre, leave some space to aid further air flow,” she says.
In this, we are looking at an area of four metres wide, five metres long and two metres high.
Setting up the floor
The pigsty has got a natural floor, however, in case there is loam soil on the ground, it must be scraped away until red soil is exposed.
That is because loam soil is loose and easily forms mud in case water or any other liquid is poured on it. The red soil forms the foundation for the sty.
“Farmers must add dry grass on the red soil of about 15 bags to achieve 40 centimetre height. The grass must be very dry so that there is no chance of rotting,” Alinaitwe says.
Thereafter, add 30 bags of saw dust to achieve an extra 30 cm, making sure that it is not the fine kind, otherwise it will not make a good floor.
Add two wheelbarrows of red soil; preferably anthill soil to the saw dust. This soil provides iron for the pigs.
After the red soil, add six kilogrammes of building lime which works as a disinfectant of the already added items.
To that, add six kilogrammes of table salt to provide more minerals.
“Then get a garden fork and mix all these things evenly. Then sprinkle 20 litres of Indigenous Micro-organisms (IMO) liquid to the already mixed contents. However, do not soak the floor,” Alinaitwe advises.
Making indigenous micro-organisms (IMO) liquid
Boil one kilogramme of rice until all the water is drained out and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Then wrap it in a clean piece of cotton cloth and bury it for seven days in a one foot deep hole covered with soil to avoid any form of contamination.
The hole must be under a shade and far from human activities. Thereafter, remove the rice, making sure that soil does not get into this mixture. Remove the contents from the cloth, put them into a bucket and add one-and-half kilogrammes of preferably brown sugar and mix.
Then totally cover the bucket to keep flies out and allow fermentation for seven days. Ensure that the bucket is in a cool and dark place.
Transfer the bucket contents into a 200 litre plastic tank, add three kilogrammes of maize bran and top up with water to the brim.
Mix these contents thoroughly daily for seven days and keep it well covered to avoid contamination. Thereafter, the mixture is now ready for use.
The liquid is rich in naturally occurring micro-organisms which are not harmful to the pigs but make their environment as natural as possible. The farmer must sprinkle it into the pig sty every day.
Dr Alinaitwe notes that one of the major problems facing farmers is feeds because close to 75 per cent of the expenditures incurred in piggery is feed associated. Dr Alinaitwe advises farmers to look for alternative feeds to buffer the commercial feeds if they are to gain profit from the venture seeing that commercial feeds are costly, more so in the long run. Alternative feeds include;
Potato vine silage
Harvest the potato vines and wilt them under the sun for 12 hours to lower the sap levels before chopping them into small pieces. For every nine kilogrammes of vine, add one kilogramme of maize bran and mix thoroughly on a dry surface. Put this mixture into a black polythene bag and ensure that it is compacted and air tight. Keep it on slated wood in a cool dark place for 48 to 60 days. Thereafter, the feed can be given to the pigs.
Other fermented feed
Easy to find feed material include banana stalks, yam leaves, and other vegetables and fruits, depending on your location. Given that you have banana stalks or yam leaves, for 100 kilogrammes, slice them into small pieces and mix four kilogrammes of brown sugar coupled with one kilogramme of salt into it. Allow them to ferment for five days in either a covered plastic tank or black polyethene bag.
The lactic acid formed during fermentation works as a preservative for the silage. At this stage, the feed is ready to give to the pigs for a period of one week, beyond which it will be spoilt.
For kitchen leftovers, ensure that there is no pork leftovers included because if the pig from which that pork was got had any disease, it will be passed on to the consuming pig.
These leftovers should also be clean, and then recooked for 15 minutes, left to cool and then served.
Organic market waste such as potatoes, cassava, and yams can be cooked and fed to the pigs. However, fruits and vegetables just have be thoroughly washed before being given to the pigs.
These should be thoroughly cooked, allowed to cool before being added to any pig feed. They work best when piggery is integrated with poultry keeping.
Hydroponic barley fodder
When incorporating this fodder in feeding, one kilogramme of commercial feed is replaced by two kilogrammes of hydroponic fodder.
For example, in the case of an adult pig, the feeding is 1.5 kilogrammes of commercial feed to three kilogrammes of hydroponic fodder per day.
General signs and symptoms of disease in pigs include loss of appetite, high temperature, reddening of the skin, vomiting, coughing, diarrhoea and excessive salivation.
Dr Justine Alinaitwe further explains that one of the most common and stock threatening disease is African swine fever as it is viral, contagious and causes up to 100% deaths. It can be transmitted through contaminated food, direct contact. Its symptoms include aimless movement with difficulty to breathe, pigs gathering around each other and refusing to eat, red or purple patches on the skin, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
For control, KCCA farm authorities have put disinfectants at various points. Every farmer should emulate this and it would be great to get advice on what to use for your disinfectant from the responsible authorities.