How RUFORUM Transformed My Life

Kidega Kenneth

Life was absolutely ugly for me when I completed my undergraduate studies. I was out of the university without a job and there was no capital for me to start up a business which could earn me a living.

Fortunately, a friend of mine told me about RUFORUM scholarships under Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s growth and development (TAGDev) program and encouraged me to apply. Honestly, I had no hope of progressing with my academic career considering being a total orphan and the bad experience I had while in secondary school and at undergraduate, including raising tuition fee, the functional fees and upkeep money all by myself while studying at the same.

God was by my side. I got selected by RUFORUM under TAGDev program cohort 1 to pursue Master of Science in Food Security and Community Nutrition at Gulu University. This was a golden life changing opportunity for me and I had to utilize it properly in order to achieve my dreams.

The RUFORUM scholarship helped me to realize the potentials I had in scientific research and the opportunity to use my research outcomes to transform the livelihoods of people in my community most especially, the smallholder farmers.  My MSc. research funded by RUFORUM under Community Action Research Project (CARP+/01) was on pork from pigs raised organically using Indigenous Micro-organisms (IMO) technology. The research findings were very positive and beneficial for pork consumers and pig farmers both nutritionally, economically and health-wise because it was ascertained that pork from pigs raised organically contain low proportion of saturated fats (unhealthy fats) compared to pork from pigs raised conventionally.

This was good news to pig farmers because the prices of pork products from pigs raised organically significantly had a good reason to increase based on the scientific evidence of my research and that implies that pig farmers would begin realizing better profits from pig production. Majority of pig farmers who participated in the research accepted to adopt the new method of organic pig production (IMO technology) and many non-pig farmers picked interest and ventured into organic pig production after the dissemination of my research findings. Currently, I am managing my small piggery unit which is acting as a demonstration unit for farmers in my community to enhance their knowledge and uptake of organic method of pig production (IMO technology).

If I get funding, I will start up an organic pork business covering all the value chain processes from production, value addition (processing) and marketing.  This is because the market is readily available since Gulu has been given a city status and populated is projected to increase.

Being in the RUFORUM Alumni network is a blessing on my side and I believe it would help me get support in sourcing and connection for funding to establish the organic pork business that I am planning to start and to get business partners since some of the Alumni are running similar business. Thanks to RUFORUM.

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