The pigs on Rose Lukwago Nassali’s farm in Uganda are growing in size and in number now that she has developed a new feed formula that uses shelled maize cobs that farmers used to discard.
“My business is certainly thriving,” said Nassali, who credits this success to a 15-day course administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development and India’s Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, held in India.
The program taught Nassali that maize cobs still have nutritional value after shelling. When she returned to Uganda, she created a new pig feed formula using the cobs.
“I learned that nothing is wasted from the farm to the consumer, unlike in Uganda, where wastage is quite high,” Nassali said. “Everything can be put to use,” she said.
Nassali is one of the 717 people who have received specialized training through the Feed the Future India Triangular Training Program, a joint U.S.-India initiative. By 2020, the program aims to train 1,500 people involved in agriculture — farmers, food processors, agricultural business owners and agricultural policy experts — from 11 African and six Asian countries. Among the topics: agricultural innovations from the U.S. and India and the latest in farming practices.
“My piggery project is certainly expanding” because of the program, she said.
Staying connected, passing it on
Most of the training takes place in India at specialized agricultural research training institutes. Vamsi Reddy, an agricultural specialist with USAID who helps manage the program, said the program targets mid- to senior-level agriculturists who at the end of each training experience “show how they will implement their new knowledge to benefit farmers once they return home.”
About 60 percent of the training time is spent with trainees practicing new skills, visiting places where new technologies are developed and meeting with farmers who are using the techniques, he said.
Reddy said that participants “go back from the training with increased confidence” and remain connected by social media platforms such as WhatsApp Group and Facebook to keep exchanging information and motivate each other. He said, “Trainees realize that the Indian smallholder-dominated agricultural context is similar to the one back home, and if these new technologies are successful in India, they should work in their respective countries.”
Nassali passed on her pig formula made from wasted maize cobs to other farmers in Uganda, and now this “seemingly useless product to farmers has a new dimension and value.”
Africa: Botswana, Sudan, Uganda, Ghana, Liberia, Congo, Rwanda, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya
Asia: Cambodia, Mongolia, Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Afghanistan