Economic viability and acceptability of Sweetpotato silage based diet as pig feed by smallholder farmers in Uganda: a case of Kamuli and Masaka districts
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This study assessed the economic viability and acceptability of sweetpotato silage-based diet as pig feed by smallholder farmers in Uganda. This was achieved by first conducting a baseline survey to estimate sweetpotato vines and root wastage as well as assessing the economic viability of investing in sweetpotato silage making business. Secondly, a market survey aimed to assess farmers’ perceptions and acceptability of sweetpotato silage based diet as pig feed was conducted. Subsequently, farmers’ willingness to pay for sweetpotato silage based pig feed diet to assess its potential demand was conducted. Baseline information was collected through key informant interviews, secondary data review, sweetpotato root peeling and weighing, focus group discussions with pig and sweetpotato producers covering a sample of 180 farmers. Semi-structured interviews with 240 respondents (Sweetpotato farmers, pig farmers and sweetpotato traders) were also conducted. For the market survey, data were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire from 256 respondents. The results revealed that sweetpotato production was seasonal with substantial wastage of its roots and vines across various nodes of the sweetpotato value chain. Investment in silage making as a business using wasted sweetpotato components was analyzed and found to be economically viable. However, perceptions linked to high costs of silage chopper machine could be a hindrance for investment in the business as it seemed unaffordable to most of the respondents. Farmers’ mean willingness to pay price was 678 and 695 Ugandan shillings, for a kilogram of sweetpotato silage based diet for Kamuli and Masaka respectively. At the mean prices, annual demand for silage was estimated at 17,679 tons with a market potential estimated to be UGX 12 billion. The study concludes that there is an opportunity for investment in sweetpotato silage based diet business that has the potential to reduce wastage of sweetpotato and bridge the feed scarcity gap faced by pig farmers in Uganda.