Due to the increase in human population in Uganda and most of it moving to cities, there is increased demand for food, and this has resulted in the production of large amounts of agricultural waste, both at farmer, municipality and city levels. The bulk of the agricultural food in Uganda is transported to cities such as Kampala in its raw form, thus compounding the net effect on large deposits of waste in urban markets, around homes and in slums as well as in various dumping grounds.
The collection, transportation and disposal of garbage in Kampala is the responsibility of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). The city generates about 1,500 tonnes of garbage on a daily basis and KCCA collects about 500 tonnes of garbage on a daily basis leaving over 60% of the garbage uncollected. The uncollected garbage results into indiscriminate disposal of garbage by the public as they have nowhere to put it. KCCA is overwhelmed by the waste output due to its lack of capacity to collect and dump it at its landfills in Kitezi, Wakiso district.
Over 40% of the garbage collected from urban markets are agricultural wastes. Three quarters of the garbage rots uncollected on pavements, streets, sewerage outlets and water channels. This unfortunate tragedy is witnessed especially in markets, blurring the city’s image and posing a serious health danger.
Agricultural waste as livestock feed
Most of this agricultural waste has high nutrient levels of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Such waste can be processed and converted into high quality livestock (cattle, goats, rabbits and pig) feeds. This alternate method of utilisation of agricultural wastes by livestock farmers can reduce the rate of accumulation, with subsequent reduction on environmental pollution thus improving environmental health, livestock productivity and household income.
Banana peels constitute about 30% of the total weight of the banana fruit. In addition to the use of banana peels as a potential low-cost feedstuff for livestock, one of the most important aspects of its use is associated with the reduction of the environmental impact caused by the disposal of this residue in nature, since the small agro-industries in Uganda do not have the resources for treatment and proper disposal, and the peels are often discarded in the food markets.
Banana peels contain 6-9% protein in the dry matter; variable quantities of starch and soluble sugars, phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, copper and potassium. Green banana peels contain about 40% starch that is transformed into sugars after ripening.
A lactating dairy cow needs a good supply of glucose due to the demands of milk synthesis for glucose. It is practical to produce animal ensiled feedstuff by utilising banana peels which have been discarded in urban food markets which can advantage the small-scale urban dairy cattle farmers.
Despite the potential use of banana peels in livestock feed, handling this by-product has complicated its use by farmers because of the high moisture content (about 80%). Therefore, it is necessary to support the processing of this material to reduce the moisture content, allowing nutrient concentration and inhibition of the proliferation of deteriorating microorganisms, longer storage time and reduction of transportation costs.
For small-scale urban dairy cattle farmers, the high-grade conventional feed resources such as Napier grass is quite expensive to get and also less available. It is therefore necessary to increase the availability of alternative feed resources for cattle. Therefore, producing feed resources from ensiled banana peels that contain valuable nutrients like glucose is important as alternative feed resources, especially for resolving scarcity of feed resources. Ensiling banana peels with sweet potato vines and/or maize stover and agro-industrial waste such as molasses has an appreciable level of nutrient and can be adopted in urban dairy cattle or pig feeding systems.
Sweet potato residues
Sweet potato residues (vines, non-commercial roots and peels) provide a good source of energy (roots) and protein (vines). Sweet potato residues are highly perishable. In case of urban areas, sweet potato residues create a disposal problem as they are dumped within the markets after sale of the roots. This causes an environmental hazard.
In order to make good use of sweet potato residues, strategies that conserve the residues during the time of abundance for use during the times of scarcity have been developed and promoted by the International Potato Center (CIP) and youth groups such as: Bavubuka Twekembe, Wakiso district; Namulonge Sweet potato Growers’ Group, Busukuma sub-county, Wakiso district and The Next Generation Entrepreneur, Makindye Ssabagabo Municipal Council. Conserving sweet potato residues as silage has potential to mitigate seasonal feed shortages and help cope with seasonal feed prices fluctuations that many smallholder pig and dairy cattle farmers experience. It also provides opportunity to reduce waste in urban market and at household level as well as can open up business opportunities for youth and women.
Maize stover consists of stalks, leaves and husks of maize plants left in the field following the harvest from farmers’ fields or in food markets after selling fresh or roasted maize cobs. Two youth vendors in USAFI and Owino markets in Kampala city have been trained to process fresh maize residues into maize stover. They collect maize leaves and stems from women and men who sell fresh maize cobs, dry them under sunshine and pack them in bags. They sell the maize stover at sh1,500 per 50kg bag.
Farmers in urban areas overlook this economical source of feed for their dairy cows. Those who attempt to use it fail to extract maximum energy from maize stover. Yet this is a strategy that can be adopted to lower the cost of feeding without necessarily lowering the physical growth process and productivity. Maize stover is a highly fibrous feed of limited digestibility and palatability that requires treatment to enhance its nutritional value. The feeding value of maize stover can be improved by ensiling it with banana peels and sweet potato vines.
Filed by Dr Jolly Kabirizi