EAMCEF supported pig keeping in Ukwega Village to prove if communities can generate income from alternative sources other than forests, they would reduce their direct dependency on forests for that purpose, thereby enhancing biodiversity conservation in Kilombero and Uzungwa Scrap Nature Reserves. Pig keeping was selected as the best option that would provide sustainable solution to accelerate poverty alleviation through provision of multiple benefits – incomes through sales, as a source of protein, manure for garden and for biogas production. In 2013 the project started to implement the idea by providing conservation education and training on pig husbandry and later provided ‘seed’ pigs in four villages, to 168 villagers. To spread the impact to many villagers, villagers agreed to share one new born piglet to the neighbouring household not supported by the project. By close of phase one of the project support in 2016, the project witnessed improved livelihood status of the supported community, including significant reduction in the number of people reported to have encroached the forests.
Pig meat (pork) became the easily available meat in the village butcheries compared to bush meat which was obtained from illegal hunting in the Nature Reserves – through burning of grasses to scare animals, but with detrimental effects on the forests. Income from sales of piglets and/pork has improved household income, while manure has been instrumental in improving home gardens.
I sold 9 pigs, got TZS. 700,000, made bricks and constructed a family house to do away with my old, small and uncomfortable one that could not allow enough privacy with my wife. Through income from pigs, I managed to install solar panel in my house. Solar light gives my wife freedom to work overnight…she cooks [prepares] buns overnight and sell them the next morning. I also provide phone charging services to other villagers and earn an extra income of around TZS. 15,000 per month.
Through this project [pig husbandry] I can now manage to join Village Community Banks (VICOBA) and small loans – I never had money to do that in the past. Our life used to be very difficult and it was not easy to get money, when I heard news about the project I decided to join…after joining, my life changed.
I used to fight with my husband because our house was very primitive, we never used to sleep if there is rain during the night. We are now very happy to have moved to the new house built by money from sales of pigs – no more fights! I took part of the income from pigs to start a small business here in the village – I make breads and buns and sell them in the village where I earn up to TZS. 65,000 per month.