PIG FARMING SUPPORT FOR 100 HOUSEHOLDS
AFFECTED BY THE CONSEQUENCES OF COVID-19
IN KIREHE (ZINGA), RWANDA
In Rwanda, the confinements of COVID-19 hit poor families hard, leading them to an intolerably precarious situation. These house-holds used what little they had to survive during this period.
To help these 100 households living in the district of Kirehe, in Rwanda’s Eastern Province, the Brabant Francophone district, in partnership with Solidarité Protestante, has decided to co-finance the “Project to support 100 households most affected by the consequences of COVID-19.” The project is being implemented by the Presbytery of Zinga of the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda (EPR), in line with MDG 1 (Sustainable Development Goal) “No Poverty” and the efforts of government authorities to support populations affected by COVID-19.
The project is helping 100 households affected by the pandemic to get back on their feet by donating small livestock (pigs). Raising pigs will increase household income through the sale of piglets. Households will benefit from the manure to increase their agricultural production. The project also aims to strengthen social cohesion between the population of the project area and guarantee its sustainability by passing on half of the piglets born free of charge to other identified households.
Beneficiary households have been selected from the population of the Musaza sector of the Kirehe district, without any discrimination linked to religion, beliefs, ethnicity, gender, etc. Selection criteria for project beneficiaries included being recognized by local authorities as a “household affected by the consequences of Covid-19,” having experience in raising small livestock, and being a resident of the project area. Beneficiaries received training on the project’s objectives, activities and expected results, as well as on the project’s rotary system. They also received on-the-job training from zootechnical experts on the various aspects of the breeding method: business-oriented breeding standards, feeding pigs at different life stages, stalling conditions and preventive and curative treatment, with emphasis on the importance of veterinary assistance.
Before the pigs could be purchased and distributed, the barns had to be built. Each household built its own. The project supplied sheet metal and cement.
To avoid any disputes when the pigs were distributed, animals of the same age were purchased and their distribution was preceded by a draw. All beneficiary households signed a livestock management contract with the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda, in the presence of local authorities.
The pigs selected were crossbreds between improved breeds and the local breed, i.e. “Landrace” and “Large white.” These cross-breeds are more productive and appreciated by the local population. Piglets from these crosses are resistant to disease. They are very easy to rear and adapt easily to the various less expensive nutritious feeds available in rural areas. A sow can give birth to 10 or 12 piglets, 3 times in a year and a half.
The pigs are kept in constant stalling in barns built by the 100 households. To date, 29 sows are pregnant. Pork meat is also highly prized and sought after by people in neighboring countries. Cross-border trade shows that Rwanda exports a large proportion of its pork production to the DRC, with the result that demand for this meat within the country is far from being satisfied.
To reinforce the social aspect and solidarity between households, the first beneficiaries are already donating piglets to other people also affected by the crisis. Moreover, more, the project has no negative impact on the environment. On the contrary, the slurry from these pigs is used to fertilize the soil with a natural fertilizer. The area where the project is located receives rain from September to June, making it ideal for this type of farming, which requires a lot of water and a humid climate.
At the halfway stage, the project is already meeting its objectives. Here are three testimonials illustrating its progress.
1. Phoibe Mukabasabose is a widow with three children. Fulfilling the required criteria, she is part of the “Project” and has received a pig. The business Phoibe ran before the arrival of COVID had to close for lack of cash, even though she had invested everything she had in it. Thanks to the liquid manure, her field is well smoked and she’s expecting a superb harvest. Her pregnant sow will soon produce piglets, which she will be able to sell to buy farmland. She also hopes to be able to renovate her house, which is in a poor state of repair.
2. Esther Nzamurambaho has been divorced for 8 years and has four children. She lives on occasional odd jobs. Very grateful to be part of the “Project,” she told us that with the proceeds from her pig, she will be able to pay for health insurance for the whole family, her children’s pension and, in the future, she would like to buy a field.
3. Faina Niyodusenga is married with five children. She owns neither house nor field. The family lives on occasional jobs that enable them to rent fields from their neighbors. She confided to us that with organic manure, her production will increase rapidly. Her sow is pregnant. With the sale of her piglets, she plans to buy her own field and build a house.
This project promised to bring positive change to the Musaza area of Zinga Presbytery.
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