Piggery farming can transform livelihoods

10Jun 2020
Editor
The Guardian
Piggery farming can transform livelihoods

Pig farming is the raising and breeding of domestic pigs as livestock, and is a branch of animal husbandry. Pigs are farmed principally for food for example pork, bacon, gammon and skins. Pigs are amenable to many different styles of farming: intensive commercial units,-

-commercial free range enterprises, or extensive farming being allowed to wander around a village, town or city, or tethered in a simple shelter or kept in a pen outside the owner's house .

Historically, farm pigs were kept in small numbers and were closely associated with the residence of the owner, or in the same village or town. They were valued as a source of meat and fat, and for their ability to convert inedible food into meat, and were often fed household food waste when kept on a homestead. Pigs have been farmed to dispose of municipal garbage on a large scale.

All these forms of pig farm are in use today, though intensive farms are by far the most popular, due to their potential to raise a large amount of pigs in a very cost-efficient manner. In developed nations, commercial farms house thousands of pigs in climate-controlled buildings. Pigs are a popular form of livestock, with more than one billion pigs butchered each year worldwide, 100 million of them in the USA. The majority of pigs are used for human food but also supply skin, fat and other materials for use as clothing, ingredients for processed foods, cosmetics, and medical use.

The activities on a pig farm depend on the husbandry style of the farmer, and range from very little intervention as when pigs are allowed to roam villages or towns and dispose of garbage to intensive systems where the pigs are contained in a building for the majority of their lives.

Essentially, the pig farming can play a complementary role to other running livestock schemes and projects covering cattle, goats, sheep, poultry and fisheries.

Pigs are known to produce large litters if they receive proper care and food, which means that the scheme will offer a quick sustainable pathway to better livelihoods for the communities.

Piggery farming can empower various people from the country's demographic configurations that include women, youths and even the aged.

The country currently has huge numbers of people that are neither formally employed nor creating their own businesses, so many people are struggling to make ends meet. Thus a pig farming can create employment for many other people along the value chain and outside the circles of the first beneficiaries.

Besides employment creation and income generation, the project will also boost food and nutrition security for many people nationally.

One other advantage with pigs is that farmers can use home-grown feeds if they cannot afford concentrates that are sold in shops. They can also divert considerable quantities of household and farm waste to the pigs.

For either option to work effectively they will need to seek advice from experts on the quantities they mix in making their own formulas.

Farmers will need to seek advice on bio-security measures needed in pig farming as well so that they do not contribute to spreading diseases. They must work with veterinary and extension officers in their various areas each time they need to do new things that they do not fully understand.

Farmers must remember that meat inspectors will reject pigs and pork if there is disease or parasites.

It is also crucial for various arms of government that are involved in agriculture to chip in and make available literature on pig farming so that farmers understand exactly what they will be doing should they use the handbooks for knowledge. Farmers must tap into this opportunity to produce big and sustainable herds of pigs.