Kasima Junior Senyonga, is the Research Assistant for the CARP+1 Pig value chain, and a second year student offering Msc. Animal production and marketing at Gulu University. He graduated in January 2018 with a first class in Bachelor of Agriculture at the same University, before joining the CARP+1. He shares his journey so far.
How I joined CARP+1_ Pig value chain
Shortly after graduation, I got a part time job with the International College of Agricultural Sciences, Kawanda. I was teaching in the department of animal production at diploma and certificate levels. In April of the same year, I got to know of the position of Research Assistant in the CARP+1, one of the projects at Gulu University which are supported by MasterCard foundation through RUFORUM. I applied and I was successful. The Principal Investigator (Dr. Elly Ndyomugyenyi), after reporting to the job, told me to apply for a master’s programme which I did, I was admitted. Despite being admitted, I could hardly sustain paying tuition and other charges required for the MSc. programme. Dr. Elly therefore, told me to develop a research concept and submit for possible funding. I developed the concept and successfully got my scholarship at the project. I therefore had to run the project work and at the same time do class work.
The experiences with farmers
I have loved working with farmers since I too grew up from a farming household. I have interacted with them during data collection while assessing their acceptance towards the three technologies being implemented by the project (Use of local semen extenders in Artificial insemination, formulation of feeds from local feed resources and use of Indigenous Micro-organisms (IMO) to reduce smell in pig houses). As the Research Assistant, I have to make follow-ups to the farmers concerning the use of technologies. I have also interacted with them during trainings on use of IMO technology and feed formulation and mixing using local feedstuffs. They have fully participated in the different activities and shown interest in the technologies. The project work has given me chance to deal with the diverse kinds of people in the community, something I had never done before. I have always felt the joy especially, when I see the “poor” in the community smile some of whom are having hope in piggery production but are constrained mainly by the high feeding costs. These smiles have always made me love to work more with and among them for their betterment.
Preparation of the local feed and IMO
The local feed formula constituted of rice bran (25%), cassava (25%) and sweet potato vines (25%)- all on dry matter basis. The cassava and sweet potato vines were chopped and mixed with rice bran. These were then set to ferment for three weeks before being fed to the pigs.
The IMO were trapped using rice (a carbohydrate source) which was boiled and cooled. This was wrapped in a net and buried in a cool place for a week. It was then removed, mixed with maize bran and sugar in a tank which was then filled with clean water. After seven days, the solution was ready for use. It was applied on to a deep litter bedding laid in the following order charcoal as the first layer, medium-sized logs, maize stalks, wood shavings, dry anthill soil mixed with lime and finally another layer of wood shavings.
As of now, I have interacted with over 300 farmers (through trainings, dissemination and community engagement exercise), about 52% of which are females. I have submitted my thesis for examination. The results for my study, together with those of other Msc. students who did their research under the CARP+1 were disseminated to the farmers and below are some of the comments from the farmers during the dissemination exercise:
- I’ve learnt how to preserve feeds during time of plenty in preparation for dry season
- The finding on the fermented feed has enlightened me on how to use feeds.
- I have learnt how to formulate feeds for pigs.
- Deep litter treated with IMO is very good for pig production and it’s the way to go
- The dissemination of the research findings will impact great change in the lives of the villagers especially to those who will practice it.
- Bringing back results to farmers should continue and more training should also be done
As I was coming for this job, my elder brother Kisaame Marx told me, “go and serve the community.” This statement has always kept me going, and it is my joy whenever I see farmers happy. I feel the satisfaction of giving back to farmers of Gulu and Omoro for the education I have had from here right from my undergraduate to-date. I had my field attachment with in Koro (Omoro) during my undergraduate, and I was studying in Gulu. Whenever I go back to them, I feel the knowledge they gave to me during attachment was of importance and its results are being visibly seen. My passion is to help smallholder pig farmers sustain and improve their production level, basically with reduced feeding costs.
Thanks to my research supervisors Dr. Elly Kurobuza Ndyomugyenyi and Dr. Basil Mugonola for the time they have invested in guiding me through my research process. The PI of CARP+1 gave me the opportunity to further my education. I am also grateful to RUFORUM and MasterCard for funding the CARP+1 which is employing me and funding my MSc.
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