Start­ing sus­tain­able pig rear­ing busi­ness

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - PANORAMA - By Femi Ibirogba

PORK is a univer­sal meat, and its con­sump­tion is on the in­crease de­spite re­li­gious per­cep­tions about the an­i­mal. It, there­fore, presents an op­por­tu­nity to busi­ness-minded in­di­vid­u­als. The risk is min­i­mal com­pared with poul­try and crop pro­duc­tion.

Why in­vest­ing in pig­gery?

The Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­gan­i­sa­tion (FAO), an agency of the United Na­tions (UN), has es­ti­mated that con­sump­tion of meat (as dif­fer­ent from poul­try) in Africa, and by ex­ten­sion Nige­ria, would grow from its cur­rent size of 10.5 mil­lion met­ric tonnes to about 35 mil­lion met­ric tonnes by 2050.

Pork is the most con­sumed of the meat glob­ally. It rep­re­sents over 36 per cent of the world’s con­sump­tion of red meat. Poul­try con­sump­tion fol­lows this with 35 per cent and then beef with 25 per cent.

Pork con­sump­tion is grow­ing in Nige­ria and Africa, but is not yet as high as the global av­er­age. Nev­er­the­less, the de­mand for pork on the con­ti­nent im­plies a busi­ness an­gle. The UN agency es­ti­mates that the con­sump­tion of pig meat in Africa will grow by an av­er­age of 3.3 per cent un­til 2050.

Pig hous­ing

Mr Ti­mothy Dako, a farm tech­nol­o­gist and pig­gery farmer in Offa, Kwara State, ex­plained to The Guardian that pig hous­ing is al­ways made of con­crete sloppy floors to drain wa­ter to the flood drains.

The hous­ing, he added, should be about 12 feet tall to pre­vent ther­mal heat. “Most pig houses are con­structed too low be­cause of ig­no­rance and poverty. Ther­mal heat af­fects pigs as it af­fects poul­try, so the house should be tall enough to neu­tral­ize the ther­mal heat build-up,” Dako said.

The house should be di­vided with a lon­gi­tu­di­nal walk­way, and the rooms should be di­vided with 10x8ft di­men­sion. The height of the wall from the con­crete floor should be around three to four feet. How­ever, some rooms should also be about five feet high to ac­com­mo­date new piglets, be­cause they need some level of warmth in the first few weeks. Such rooms should be done in such a way to al­low the mother pig to stroll out for fresh air. The outer walls of the pen should be fenced with wires to pre­vent pigs from jump­ing out of the pen.

A room of 10x8ft would ac­com­mo­date four to five grow­ing pigs, but can only ac­com­mo­date two to three adults. This size of space would ac­com­mo­date a pig and its new piglets.

In a nut­shell, the pen is usu­ally di­vided into a breed­ing sec­tion, hous­ing ma­ture male and fe­male pigs for mat­ing; far­row­ing sec­tion, for nurs­ing and preg­nant pigs; weaner’s sec­tion, for newly weaned pigs; grower sec­tion, for rapidly grow­ing pigs not ready for re­pro­duc­tion; and fin­isher sec­tion, for pigs al­most ready for sale, es­pe­cially male pigs.

Breeds of pigs

There are sev­eral breeds of pig avail­able in the coun­try to­day, and from the avail­able pure breeds, cross-bred va­ri­eties have emerged. Peo­ple are ex­per­i­ment­ing com­bi­na­tion of traits as­so­ci­ated with some breeds to have bet­ter results of faster growth rate and big­ger car­casses.

The com­mon­est pig breeds for com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion are the York­shire, Lan­drace, Hamp­shire, Duroc, Ti­betan, Large White, Tam­worth and Meis­han breeds and their crosses. These breeds pro­duce lean meat com­bined with ef­fi­cient feed con­ver­sion (three kg of good feeds is needed to pro­duce 1 kg of pork). The most eco­nomic of the breeds of pig in Nige­ria is Large White. This breed gives the high­est num­ber of lit­ters of piglets per cy­cle and about the largest car­cass. Large White breed re­pro­duces about 10-13 kids.

Cross-breed­ing of Large White breed with Duroc breed of pig is of­ten ex­per­i­mented in Nige­ria. Duroc pro­duces fewer kids than Large White (be­tween 8 and 10 kids), but the for­mer is very bet­ter in nur­tur­ing the piglets to ma­tu­rity. Cross­breed­ing the duo fuses the traits of good car­cass, re­pro­duc­tive pro­duc­tiv­ity, ad­e­quate nur­tur­ing and sur­viv­abil­ity of kids.


En­ergy con­tent of pig feeds should reach 50 per cent, and pro­tein about 40 per cent and fiber, fat and mi­cronu­tri­ents should take the re­main­ing per­cent­age. If the feeds are rich, the pigs would grow well. Pigs hardly fall sick, but there are al­ways worm in­fes­ta­tions. So, they should be de-wormed monthly.

Also, as a pre­ven­tive mea­sure, anti-bi­otics could be given oc­ca­sion­ally, and mul­tivi­ta­mins could also be ad­min­is­tered to boost their im­mu­nity and en­hance their growth rate.

San­i­ta­tion is very es­sen­tial in a pig pen. Farm at­ten­dants or own­ers should make it a duty to pack the exc­reta daily, dis­in­fect the pen with dis­in­fec­tants to pre­vent out­breaks of dis­eases. A very neat pen will boost the growth, sur­viv­abil­ity and pro­duc­tiv­ity of the an­i­mals. Eco­nomics of pig breed­ing

and fat­ten­ing

Pigs are raised com­mer­cially ei­ther for breed­ing (sell­ing to those farm­ing) or for fat­ten­ing for meat con­sump­tion.

Pigs are prodi­gally pro­lific in re­pro­duc­tion, and they give birth twice in a year. The

ges­ta­tion pe­riod is three months, three weeks and three days; about 120 days in all. Hav­ing two pigs of re­pro­duc­tive ages (male and fe­male) at the be­gin­ning of a year can im­ply hav­ing about 20 and above by the end of that year.

Wean­ing is done af­ter two months. And each weaned piglet at two months old is sold for about N6,000 to N7,000, de­pend­ing on the breed and feed­ing.

Rais­ing pigs for meat re­quires ad­e­quate feed­ing with nu­tri­tious feeds to have a good re­sult at the ex­pected time. A well fed pig with bal­anced di­ets of feeds would at­tain about 60 to 80kgs in eight months. A kilo­gramme is sold to off-tak­ers at the rate of N500. This would give the farmer about N40,000.

The cost of pro­duc­tion is min­i­mal, av­er­ag­ing N2,000 per month start­ing from age four months. The cost is about N1000 be­fore four months. This would make it a max­i­mum of N12,000 on feed­ing in eight months. Labour and other cost would take an­other N8,000; for it is as­sumed a com­mer­cial farmer should have at least 10 pigs. From the above cal­cu­la­tion, about N20,000 would be left as a profit mar­gin.

N20,000 times 10 would give the farmer about N200,000. Rais­ing 50 pigs for meat pur­poses and hav­ing a few for re­pro­duc­tion can im­ply a sus­tain­able small scale busi­ness if the man­age­ment of the busi­ness is good.

Good man­age­ment means pro­vid­ing bal­anced diet feeds at the right time and quan­tity; de-worm­ing the an­i­mals reg­u­larly; bud­get­ing ad­e­quately to pre­vent star­va­tion and good san­i­ta­tion of the pen.

Adding value to the pigs by slaugh­ter­ing and sell­ing at a branded out­let would give ad­di­tional profit to a farmer. A kilo at the re­tail end of the busi­ness is sold at N900 or N1000. Ad­di­tional re­quire­ments to add value would in­clude a medi­um­size freezer, a power gen­er­a­tor or so­lar power gad­gets and an out­let to sell the pork.

A Large White pig with its piglets

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