Pig farming holds great potential

20 January 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

Pig farming presents an opportunity with great potential when looking for new business ventures in the agriculture sector.

Agribank’s technical advisor for crops and poultry, Hanks Saisai, said according to the 2014 National Agriculture Census conducted by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), there are approximately 87 206 pigs countrywide and more than 50% are found in the communal areas of northern Namibia.

Indigenous or local breeds make up more than 50% of the pig population in the country.

“In a country that has been affected by recurring droughts, livestock farming has been drastically affected, making it an expensive industry to operate in due to the feeding costs that farmers have to incur for sustaining their livestock numbers. Pig farming presents a diversification option that farmers can consider.”

Saisai said significant potential exists in the piggery sector and numerous beneficial factors are associated with pig farming.

Productive animals

“Pigs are highly productive animals that can have three litters per 12-month period, and in the case of good breeds, a sow can have about seven to eight piglets per litter. This enables the expansion of the pig herd in a short period.”

He said on a more relaxed production plan, one sow can have about two litters per year with an average of 26 piglets and, taking mortality into consideration, 21 piglets can be weaned.

“Pigs are good feed convertors and can be fed almost everything that is considered kitchen waste (except for meat products and onions) and garden waste such as loose leaves of spinach, cabbage and other vegetables.

According to Saisai, pigs are also tolerant to the harsh conditions in Namibia, making them a suitable livestock species that can be kept almost anywhere in the country.

Disease-resistant

He said the indigenous pig breeds are highly disease resistant and at times have been proven to need little vaccination in order to thrive.

He, however, stressed that while pig farming is a great opportunity, one must familiarise themselves with the guidelines and standards put in place by the agriculture ministry’s Directorate of Veterinary Services.

“One must be registered as a pig producer and products associated with pig farming. In this enterprise, one can enjoy income generated from the sale of carcasses to butcheries, weaned piglets sold to other farmers as breeding stock and from the sale of pork products such as bacon, ham and sausage.”

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