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Photo K. Dhanji/ILRI

An assessment of heat stress status in pigs and adaptation options in lira district Uganda

There is limited attention to impacts of climate change on pigs in Uganda by stakeholders despite the potential vulnerability of pigs to climate change, especially heat stress. Pigs are very sensitive to heat stress as they do not have functioning sweat glands (as other livestock species do) and have small lungs which reduces their ability to disseminate heat by panting. The objectives of the study were to determine the heat stress status in pigs, factors influencing heat stress and explore the heat-stress adaptation options towards better pig production in Lira District, Uganda. Lira was selected because of low pig density, high poverty level and expected heat stress throughout the year in the district. The data including management systems, age, color, breeds, body/skin temperature, rectal temperature and others were collected from 104 households and 259 pigs during the hot months in Ojwina and Barr sub-counties- Lira district. More data on adaptation options were collected during the four gender disaggregated focus group discussions. 63.46 % of the respondents were female and 36.54% of respondents were male. Majority of the respondents during the household survey were from Barr sub-county (56%) and the remainder (44%) were from Ojwina sub-county, which were the rural area and urban area respectively. Rectal temperature (RT=39.06°C ±0.83°C) and body/skin temperature (ST=36.32°C ±2 °C) were the key heat stress indicators (dependent variables) as have been used by other researchers. According to the farmers, 48.45% of the pigs had no heat stress, 51.55% of the pigs were heat stressed and these groups were significantly different (p