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Makerere University places an order to procure Pig Artificial Insemination (AI) Kits for 13 districts


Makerere University's Department of Agricultural Production, College of  Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has placed an order to  procure  1000 Pig Artificial Insemination Catheters and 500 semen bottles which will be distributed to technicians in 13 districts .

The beneficiary districts are those practicing or in the process of practicing intensive pig rearing. They include Soroti,  Masaka, Luwero, Kamuli, Jinja, Gulu, Buikwe, Mpigi, Hoima, Mityana, Kiryandongo Lira and Mbale.

This was disclosed during the closing ceremony to pass out 25 technicians from 13 districts of Uganda who were undergoing training on Pig Artificial Insemination (AI)  at the Continuing Agricultural Education Centre (CAEC) at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute  Kabanyolo (MUARIK).

The one week training was conducted  on 21st -25th August 2017 and sponsored bythe National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) at a cost of  shs.170 million under the under the project titled  “Improving pig productivity: Diversifying piglet nutrition options and upscaling Artificial Insemination in Uganda (DIVERSE-PIG)”.


Wakiso district Veterinary Officer Dr. Gerald Kirembe teaching trainees on Policies, Laws and Ethics in Pig AI

Speaking at the closing  of the training, Makerere University  Principal Investigator DIVERSE -PIG project  Assoc. Prof. Donald Rugira Kugonza said, from the training exercise, participants were very keen and had learnt Pig Artificial Insemination  but the question was how they were going to practice the technology.

“So they were saying they need the kits. We are grateful that this time NARO is supporting us to buy the kits. We failed to get the local supplier of these kits, so we got quotations from outside. We have some from South Africa, three from USA and some from the Netherlands.

We have corresponded with Pig Improvement Company (PIC) in South Africa which breeds the Cambrough breed but they also have the technical side that supplies equipment. So they have already given us quotation for 1000 Catheters and 500 semen bottles,".

Dr. Kugonza said the procurement will be done  in the first week of September, 2017 for distribution.

“We have already told the trainees to go and expect these. So we shall hand them out at the district offices. This is where the trainees will be congregating in each of the 13 districts.


Pig AI specialist Robert Natumanya, Dr. Victoria Namulawo (NARO), Dr. Donald R Kugonza and Wakiso District Vetrinary Officer Gerald Kirembe during the closing ceremony


One of the participants receiving a certificate from Dr. Namulawo and Dr. Kugonza

And then we shall talk to the district Veterinary Officers who asked us to hand over these kits through their officers so that they can monitor the activity, being a new technology, it can be mishandled.

So the DVOs insisted that we train them and come back and hand over the kits in their presence for better monitoring to avoid misuse as an investment in the district. So we expect by 15th September 2017, the kits will be with the trainees and the kits will also be given to trainees in the next batch of training which will be in early September, 2017,” said Kugonza.

The Don reported that the quotation for the 1000 catheters and 500 semen bottles is about shs. 6 million and they were continuing to identify companies which can import the kits because importing a few by DHL is not cost effective.

“People importing veterinary product can be in business. Each Catheter is supposed to be used once. So if you inseminate 20 pigs a week, that means you need 100 straws every month. Right now some of the importers come with the kits in their suit cases and briefcases but if they go into formal business, it will promote the technology and people will not be tempted to reuse the catheters and therefore a threat for transmitting disease,”. He said.


A section of participants during the closing ceremony

Kugonza said, in the first batch,  15 participants from Wakiso and 15 from Kabarole district were trained but not all of them have practiced. Those who practiced he said,  it is mainly because of interest.

“The success has been from people who come from areas very active in pig rearing like Kiira Nangabo side in Wakiso district may because they were near the source of semen. So we have not been very successful partly because we have never provided trainees with equipment.

Our assumption was to train them and instill interest and they go and buy. We did not realize that there is a problem that the kits  are not in shops where they can walk in and buy," Kugonza added.

Presiding over the closing ceremony, the Assistant Coordinator Competitive Grant Scheme NARO,  Dr. Victoria Namulawo said the training is aimed at promoting research technologies to the most important stakeholders, the farmers.


Dr. Victoria  Namulawo ( 2nd standing) giving her closing remarks 

She informed participants that NARO operates a research competitive grant scheme for the entire national research system composed of agricultural research system for different commodities.

Other beneficiaries she said include research in universities, community based organizations, NGOs, Local governments, private sector, tertiary institutions,  agro industry actors, extension agencies and farmers among others.

“The objective of the competitive grant scheme is to strengthen this research system through mobilizing the best scientific expertise in the public and private sector because we believe that all the information we need is here with us. What we have been lacking is a forum where all the best brains come together.” She said.

Dr.  Namulawo said the calls come out annually. One of the merit upon which the project passes is that multi-sectoral approach – a project  that caters for individuals concerned with that particular technology like local governments in charge of implementing government programs, farmers as target and beneficiaries etc as a way of promoting partnerships and networking because no one is an island.


A section of the participants during the closing ceremony

Namulawo  said, NARO to date has 88 running projects under CGS. Originally she said NARO had 90 projects but two were struck off because they were not running well according to the objectives.

She said NARO expects outputs from these projects that will help to fulfill the expectations of the National Development Plan, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Program and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“It is therefore no wonder that this project titled, “ Improvement of pig productivity through  Diversifying of piglet nutrition options and upscaling Artificial Insemination in Uganda (DIVERSE-PIG)” was selected under  NARO CGS  because it fits into those programs.

Dr. Namulawo recognized that pork is the most consumed meat in the world and, among the terrestrial animals, pork is the most consumed.


A participant receiving a certificate and other gifts from the chief guest Dr. Victoria Namulawo

“Uganda has been tagged to be the most pork consuming country in Africa at about 3.5kg per person per year and only second to China. There are also some studies that show that some of the pork consumed is imported from Kenya and South Africa.

I think this is not acceptable that we should continue importing pork especially now that it is possible to produce enough pork for our population. I do recognize the adversaries the pig industry face particularly the Swine fever as a big threat transmitted by contact.

It is upon the premise that Artificial insemination will reduce this contact. We thought that this project will reduce that contact and therefore cub the spread of Swine fever plus many other diseases and it has some bonus –the nutrition part of it of the ability to produce more piglets for the farmer using better nutritional technologies”, Dr. Namulawo explained.


The three female trainees posing with their certificates after the closing ceremony

She said the project is  one that CGS prides in because it has brought on board technologies that can uplift the livelihoods in terms of food and income security.

“So, it is one project we can point to and say, that is our project. It is a project that when our funders-World Bank comes around, we can comfortably say come around and see our project”.

She thanked all the participants for finding time to be part of this noble course of promoting government programs.


Article compiled by:

Jane Anyango,

Communication Officer, CAES

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