Back in 2019 volunteer Dr. Harouna Maiga worked with pig farmers in Mali to improve the profitability of pigs. Utilizing leftover green material from local cassava plants was the key in finding ways to increase the nutrition and weight of the pigs. The plant, which grows throughout the region, allowed for farmers to introduce silage to their pigs that they weren’t able to before the training with Dr. Maiga.
There was great promise as piglets began to increase their weight from the new project. Unexpectedly, some of the pigs were killed by local farmers for wandering their fields. A common issue during the dry season or when food is scarce for the animals. It’s always hard to predict what challenges will arise when a new project is introduced to a community so follow up with our volunteers and directors is essential.
In March of this year, Mali Country Director Bara Kassambara reconnected with the pig farmers who have continued to work with Dr. Maiga on the management of their pigs. After receiving the training and continuing to work with the program, they have seen increased feeding/fattening of the pigs, farming time has decreased from 7-8 months to 4-5 months and the overall quality of the animals have increased.
The new changes have dramatically increased their income from $10 to $80-100 (USD)! Farmers are impressed by the results and have begun to increase the amount of cassava that is growing in the area.
“Frankly, ensiling cassava residue gave us opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: provides to pig farming/fattening a huge boost of productivity and motivate and increase cassava production; both helping us to make more money especially women raising pigs and can henceforth collect cassava residue before thrown away. It is like the volunteer brought us an opencast gold mine,” said Kougnan Thera.
Two thirds of the participants in the pig training were women. By introducing and giving new tools for women to work in agriculture means a larger income for families and the community.
“I was so impressed by this training session which support us to solve a huge problem we were facing while the medicine was in our hands without knowing it. Henceforth cassava residue will be our green gold,” said Tieba Denou, Commune Advisor and Board Member of the organization.
Like any new project, there’s always new challenges that arise or new goals to be made. Moving forward the group is hoping to tackle these topics:
- Improving the pig breeds that will increase their production and productivity.
- Finding areas to implement more cassava fields as the plant cannot be grown everywhere.
- There isn’t access to pig vaccines that are vital to fight against pig related plagues.
Outside of agricultural related challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes that are out of their control. Unfortunately the market has changed without a plan of when this will return to more normal circumstances.
“Since the COVID-19 threat started our clients stopped coming into the village to buy pigs then we are only selling a few in the local market or we consumer or give as gift what we produced,” said one of the members.
With new tools in the hands of pig farmers, we are excited to continue working with them to reach their goals.
Interested in where this project started? Read the previous blog using this button.