Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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Facts You Need To Understand About Pig Genetics

by Harvest Money Editor
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There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about pig breeds in Uganda, some is deliberate and the other is out of ignorance.
Some breeders give wrong information for purposes of business. Others innocently give wrong information to buyers about breeds they keep because that is what the source of their stock told them.
According to the 2018 Uganda National Livestock Census, done by the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), there are around five million pigs in the country.
Although the majority are kept by smallholder farmers with an average of five pigs, there are now emerging large-scale piggery farms in the country. At the moment, there are at least five pig farms with at least 300 breeding sows each.

One of the challenges, however, is not just understanding, but also getting the right breed because this is the best way of assuring productivity. 
There are some facts you need to understand about Uganda and other East African countries pig genetics. 
– Due to a lack of national livestock identification and record-keeping system,

there is continuous unintended inbreeding of the national pig herd. This has led to weaker and less productive pigs.  The lack of an identification system makes animal tracking almost impossible.

-There is no farmer owning grandparent maternal breed lines (Landrace and Yorkshire) for commercial purposes. 
-There is unplanned crossbreeding in Uganda, leading to dilution of hybrid vigour of improved genetics. This is because farmers import females/gilts without boars and strategies for producing replacement stock. At the end of the day, they start sourcing boars/semen from within the country. 

– Some of the imported first generation gilts are not put to their intended use hence their inefficient utilisation. This may be due to lack of suitable semen to inseminate them.

However, the pig sector is shifting from traditional to commercialized operations and the change is rapidly happening.
The shift is mainly led by foreign investors and their ventures are successful. Their successful pig production ventures is attributed to four pillars, which include:

– Genetics 

-Feeds & Feeding

-Management 

– Environment 

On the other hand, if one does not pay keen attention to these pillars, one’s commercial pig farm may end up unsuccessful due to:
– Poor choice of genetics for commercial operations.
– Lack of knowledge on the management of commercial operations, hence hiring the wrong staff
– Lack of skills in the management of feeding costs on commercial operations, which leads to overfeeding or poor feeding hence making losses 
– Limited marketing strategies for premium pork products, for example, most farmers still sell ‘whole’ pigs and yet selling premium parts of the pork.

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