Some 28 agriculture officials and famers have been trained in silage production for pigs.
By Christopher Bendana
Some 28 agriculture officials and famers have been trained in silage production for pigs at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute, Kabanyolo.
The training, sweet potato production, management and utilization workshop for training of trainers was organised by the International Potato Center (CIP) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
The officials and farmers were chosen from Masaka and Kamuli districts.
Dr Peter Mulindwa, an official from the ILRI, said they picked officials from Masaka because it is one of the leading producers of pigs in the country. He said Kamuli was chosen because of its high sweet potato production.
Milly Nanyolo, a trainee, and also a veterinary extension worker at Kitayundwa sub-county in Kamuli district, said he had gained a lot of knowledge and would immediately start silage production and train farmers.
Another trainee, Julius Ssekiwunga, who is a farmer from Masaka, said the training had given him choice over expensive animal feeds.
He said silver fish (locally mukene), an ingredient in animal feeds, cost sh4000 while maize bran, another ingredient, costs sh800.
“I had already picked the production of silage production from Harvest Money [a weekly pull-out on farming in the New Vision newspaper],” he explained. “My only problem was on its storage, but this training has given me a solution.”
He said that silage will help farmers avoid the problem of fake animal feeds from business people.
“I can grow the [potato] vines myself even when you buy from the open market the prices are low.”
Mulindwa urged the trainees to teach other farmers silage production. “We hope to reach 250,000 households by training people like you,” he said.
Silage processing involves the chopping of the vines and unwanted potato roots, drying them to limit the amount of moisture, adding molasses and putting the mixture in a polythene bag (kaveera) and compacted.
The kaveera is then sealed to stop air contact. The silage takes 30 days to mature. Some farmers said they had kept the feeds for months.
However, while several farmers and officials appreciated the technology, they said the cost was high. They cited the cost of sh2m for the forage cutter used for chopping the veins.
Dr Diego Naziri, project leader at International Potato Center, called upon the trainees to train other farmers. “You have to help us disseminate this information.”
According Sarah Mayanga, a research associate at CIP, Uganda is the leading producer of sweet potatoes in Africa and second in the world after China.
Farmers trained in silage production