Over the years, pig farming in Kenya has gradually risen to become one of the top agribusiness ventures. Pork accounts for 38% of the world’s meat production, making it very popular meat. Domesticated pigs are called swines. Swines reproduce twice a year, their gestation period being only 114 days, that is 3 months, three weeks and three days. Farmers rearing pigs for sale can get a lot of profit, depending on the number of pigs they rear in their farm. Farmers in Kenya can buy their pigs from trusted sources like the Agricultural Development farm in Nakuru. Just like any other business, a person looking to go into pig farming must do research to determine whether the business will realize profit or not. Lack of research and planning may cause frustrations when faced with the challenges that come with pig farming in Kenya. Here are factors to consider when pig farming.
1. Determine the size of your business
The best advice for someone who has no experience in pig farming would be to start small. Should loss occur, it should be one that does not completely set you back. Look at the land available; few pigs will occupy less land than a big number of pigs. Keeping a big number of pigs in a small area will contribute to faster spreading of diseases and higher death rates.
Swines are kept in piggeries. The size of a piggery constructed will depend on the number of pigs to be kept by the farmer; a large, spacious pen is suitable for a large number of pigs and vice-versa. For good profit, a farmer should keep not less than 10 pigs.
It would take about 14 months to realize returns on investment on pig farming in Kenya, which also depends on the number of pigs reared.
2. Identify your market
A good number of entrepreneurs focus on production first and then look for a market later. This shows a lack of preparation. You must look for a market around you. Ask yourself what kind of meat people in your area prefer; is it beef or pork? Are you located near a butchery or butcheries? This may be an added advantage. Also, what are the religious beliefs of people the people around? A place populated by Muslims for example would be a bad idea to rear pigs as they have negative beliefs towards them and do not consume pork.
3. Select proper breed
Popular breeds in Kenya are large white, landrace, yorkshire duroc and hampshire. Select a breed that is great for furrowing; it should give birth to healthy piglets. Michael Wanyoike, a top pig farmer and the best Farmer’s Choice bacon producer in Kenya, says,
“I make sure that I keep breeds that are good farrowers (giving birth prolifically) and fast-maturing,” he says. On his farm, Wanyoike keeps three breeds for various reasons.
These are Landrace, Large White and Duroc. Landrace are long, big, farrow more and are very good mothers. On the other hand, Large White are big and strong while Duroc grows very fast, puts on weight fast and are heavy.
“Farrowing should be at least twice a year. I make sure that the sows are properly fed and kept in good health to ensure they come to heat soon after farrowing. Equally important is that boars should be well-fed and be healthy for proper serving and prevent spreading of diseases.”
He is excited about the recent introduction of artificial insemination services for pigs that enhance the chances of achieving two farrows a year.
“In the last two months, we have been using AI on our sows. This is a milestone as it guarantees quality breeds while reducing the risk of disease infections through mating. We purchase semen a dose at Sh1,500 from Farmer’s Choice and do the serving ourselves on the farm”.
For optimal returns on investment in pig farming, Wanyoike focuses on ensuring that each farrow has at least 10 piglets a litter.
4. Construct proper housing
Construct a sizable piggery with enough space for your pigs as they like to stay together. The pen should be divided into four parts; the feeding area, sleeping area, waste area and an extra area for moving around. Pigs can be messy, so concrete piggeries are better than mud piggeries for hygiene purposes. The pen should be warm as pigs have small lungs compared to their body size hence susceptible to pneumonia attacks. Set aside a quarantine area for when one or more falls sick so that they do not infect the rest.
The piggery should be kept clean at all times especially during rainy days to avoid spreading of infections.
Find the original article on Bizna's website.