AS I approached Nyenje’s farm, I expected to be greeted by the squealing associated with pigs. Instead, I was met by dead silence, which made me wonder whether there were any pigs on the farm.
Vision Reporter
Journalist @ New vision
AS I approached Nyenje’s farm, I expected to be greeted by the squealing associated with pigs. Instead, I was met by dead silence, which made me wonder whether there were any pigs on the farm.
By Vision Reporter

AS I approached Nyenje’s farm, I expected to be greeted by the squealing associated with pigs. Instead, I was met by dead silence, which made me wonder whether there were any pigs on the farm.

Of course, the pigs were there, but they were unique. Clean and contented are the words that can best describe the pigs on Nyenje farm.

The farm belongs to three veterinary doctors, who, after their research, realised the need to make the pigs friendly to all persons regardless of their culture.

Doctors Richard Kirigwajja, Leornard Kawule and Byekwaso formed a partnership to put together the theory of the effect of indigenous micro-organisms (IMO) and their use on a farm.

The IMO method is commonly known as the non-wash pig’s technology. It is an easy way to manage piggery on both big and small scale.

“This technology is simple and can be adopted by backyard farmers, who want to raise pigs on small-scale without so much objection from the neighbour,” Kirigwajja says.

“The method is used in such a way that the bedding mix absorbs the stench. All they need to do is feed the pigs and spray the bedding with a probiotic solution,” he adds.

He explains that the probiotic solution is made of dissolving concentrated indigenous micro-organisms (IMO). The solution contains beneficial micro-organisms like the yeast and mold.

How the partnership started
These three doctors attribute their partnership to the nature of their consultative work.

“As doctors we realised the need of putting our heads together. Through our extension services, we sought a way forward for our patients (animals),” Kawule says.

Like a teacher can have the evening hours after class to attend his or her family, they also use the little time they have to practise what they learnt while at university.

Research in indigenous micro-organisms
After a countrywide tour through veterinary extensional services, they identified a gap in technical extension services they thought the IMO would solve.

“We found out that extension services are not enough for the farmers. In a village one can find less than one veterinary officer, yet animals are many. We want farmers to get involved in this new service to fill the gap,” Kawule says.

Matching production with the trends
Currently, many people are shifting from consumption of red meat to white meat. The reason being that red meat has more cholesterol than white meat.

Researchers found out that red meat is also high in saturated fat, which has definitively been linked to heart diseases.

According to Kirigwajja, since people demand more pork than red meat, it calls for a cheaper way of rearing the pigs that is IMO.

“If production does not match with the consumption, then we are likely to reach a shortage,” he said.

Benefits of IMO
The doctors have not started reaping as much as expected, but they hope that with time they will.

“Compared to the conventional pigs that may consume more than four kilograms each, here the expenditure on feeds is reduced as the animals take most of the time scratching the materials on the ground,” Kawule explains.

According to the doctors, cleaning the pig sty is easier and this method reduces the water used in cleaning. The method also reduces the bad odour normally associated with pigs.

This method is considered the safest method of keeping pigs as they can even be kept in the compound in urban farming.

The method is not labour-intensive. At the Nyenje farm, for instance, there is only one attendant who looks after the 72 pigs.

Kawule says because of the stress-free environment, the animals do not squeal unnecessarily as they spend most the time scratching the ground.

“Because of the high temperatures in the sty, the fat content on the pigs is low as they put on more muscles,” he says.

This method requires less space. About 12 to 16 pigs can be kept in an area of 4x4 metres.

“In a conventional piggery, one mature pig may occupy eight square metres, yet here I metre is enough for one,” Kirigwajjo notes.

How an IMO looks like
It is advisable that walls be short and the upper parts netted or left open to allow air circulation for the pigs.

“One can use a wire mesh or suitably placed poles for sun rays and air circulation into the pig sty, though this area around the pigs should prevent the pigs from getting out,” Kawule says.

The roof
The roof should have transparent iron sheets to allow light to get into the pig sty.

The floor
Not cemented is the logic behind IMO. It involves digging a hole of one metre, building a wall around the hole to prevent animals from getting out.

It is advisable that the bricks are plastered to prevent the pigs from feasting on them. Fill 70cm of part of the hole with coffee husks or saw dust. Depending on the spaces, mix nutrients and pour a concoction of the micro-organisms on the top of the litter and mix the contents.

The doctors are trying to construct an innovation centre on IMO.

Kawule and Kirigwajja are graduates of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery. Kawule works with the National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data Bank, while Kirigwajjo is pursuing a master’s degree in the same field. He has worked as a veterinary doctor to the President

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