Ugandan pigskin leather products wows swineherds

Ugandan pigskin leather products wows swineherds
Some of the pigskin leather products on display.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Younger pig farmers from different regions of Uganda have been amazed by the products made out of pigskin leather, seeing it as a potential avenue to generate additional income from their herds.

These innovative items were showcased at the Piggery Value Chain Symposium, drawing the participation of over 800 pig farmers, both physically and virtually. The event also attracted stakeholders from across the Piggery Value Chain, including governmental and private sector support structures. Among the displayed items were bags, shoes, and protective gloves.

Emilian Mwebe, hailing from Kyotera district and raised in a pig-rearing family, admitted to never encountering pigskin leather products before, despite knowing of their existence. He expressed surprise at finding such products in Uganda, seeing it as a validation of his chosen profession and a potential boost to the value of his livestock, thereby reaffirming his commitment to the trade.

For Flavia Adoch from Nwoya, the revelation served as motivation to explore value addition opportunities for her pig products, recognizing the untapped potential to diversify income streams.

Abdallah Papako, based in Kiryandongo, described pigskin leather products as a pleasant surprise in his farming journey, further solidifying his dedication to pig farming and inspiring him to encourage more youth to join the sector. He pledged to share his newfound knowledge with fellow aspiring pig farmers.

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Jude Okodi from Soroti highlighted the job creation potential for youth and advocated for government intervention in establishing a pigskin leather tannery in Uganda to capitalize on the readily available skins provided by farmers. Similarly, Scovia Achan from Madi-Okollo emphasized the destigmatization of pig products, noting the absence of religious implications compared to pork, which could positively impact market demand.

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Agnes Kitumba of Arise Collections, a seasoned leather product dealer, emphasized the underutilization of pigs locally despite their potential, citing pigs as a valuable source of skin leather. She underscored the significant global contribution of pigskin leather to the leather market and advocated for the establishment of local tanneries to reduce reliance on imports.

Gudula Nayiga Basazza, the chief organizer of the symposium, reiterated its purpose in spotlighting opportunities and addressing challenges within the piggery sector, with representatives from both public and private sectors offering solutions and support.

“We want to revolutionize the piggery value chain,” she explained. “As we do that, we are targeting the market because we know pigs can give us over 300 products, and now our eyes have been opened to what we can benefit from pigskin leather, because we have been receiving very low value from such a high-value product.”