Starting a sustainable pig rearing business

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), had 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, says 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 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 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 piglet 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. Cross-breeding the duo produces fuses the trait 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, they 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 & fattening 
Pigs are raised commercially either for breeding (selling to those breeding) 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. The 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 a medium-size freezer, a power generator or solar power gadgets and an outlet to sell the pork.

Source: The Guardian

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