If you have not been into pig farming, or you have just started, this article is for you. If you are already there, it will add value to your enterprise. You are just about to find possible solution to your current problems.
If you have been to Thika town, you must have seen how the pork industry and eateries are mushrooming. It is now becoming a culture. Pork products are also in high demand. Think of sausages!
Well, consider the points below so you can know that you’ve made the right decision to start planning a Pig Farming Business:
The pig has a high feed conversion efficiency and as such produces more live weight gain from a given weight of feed than any other class of meat producing animal. Actually, in terms og gaining weight easily, the pig come only second to the Broiler Chicken.
The Pig is able to utilize a wide variety of food stuffs like Grains, forages, and converts them into valuable nutritious meat. Feeding your pig on damaged grains and other leftovers reduces the stress of buying food stuffs and consequently you will spend less or no money on food, depending on the system you adopt.
Pigs are comparatively very fertile having a short generation interval; a female pig/sow reaches maturity as early as 8-9 months when she can start breeding. In one year your pig can produce/farrow twice, producing 8-12 piglets each time. You will invest relatively small on Buildings and farm equipment when starting your pig Production Business.
You will comparatively yield more meat from a pig than other animals in terms of dressing percentage; you could easily get 65-80 percent meat from a pig and yet with other livestock your dressing yield would not exceed 65 percent.
Pork itself is a very nutritious meat with high fat and low water content, and has got better energy value than that of other meats. The meat is rich in vitamins like thiamin, Niacin and reboflavin. Your pig production business can thus be used to fight malnutrion a well.
You can use the pig manure from your farm as a fertilizer for plants and fish ponds
Pigs store fat rapidly for which there is an increasing demand from poultry feeds, soap, paints and the chemical industries.
Your pig farming business could provide quick returns since you can achieve the Marketable weight of fattening pigs within a period of 6-8 months.
As I mentioned earlier, there is currently good demand for Pig Farming products from both the domestic and export markets. You can make an order for pigs, pig products, farm supplies and advisory services here.
Identify the good Pig breeds for your commercial farm
Use this section to identify the breeds you will take to your commercial piggery unit.
Large white: You will identify this breed by its distinguished erect ears and slightly dished face. The body is long with excellent hams and fine hair. This breed is very prolific with good mothering ability and can be used for pork and bacon production.
Landrace: You will identify this pig breed by its white colour, dropping ears and a straight snout. Sows produce and rear litters of piglets with very good daily gain and high lean meat content ideal for pork and bacon.
Duroc: You will identify this pig breed by its golden brown to black colour with a thick aubum coat and hard skin. Ears are relatively small and slighly dropping. Traditionally the Durocs hae been used as terminal sires, characterized by quick growth, deep body, broad ham, and shoulder. The Duroc is good at looking after its young and as such is a good breed for outdoor piggery. This pig breed is very suitable for anything from light pock to heavy pig production.
Hampshire: Developed in the USA and now one of the world’s most important pig breeds. Extensively used as the sire of cross bred pigs for pork and bacon production. A very prolific pig breed. Produces lean meat in abundance and comparatively produces more meat than Large White and Landrace breeds.
Combrough: Commonly imported from South Africa, grow fast , have considerably less fat and the females are great mothers who don’t lose their babies. They feed babies well and have enough milk. Give birth to an average of 14 piglets , 3 times a year. Can be resistant to disease when managed well.
So which Pig Farming System should you deploy?
Depending on the amount of capital you can afford to invest on your pig farm; you will have to choose one of these three (3) Pig farming systems.
Free range/scavenging pig keeping: a less extensive system that would provide your household with an emergency fund to fall back to while supplying some little meat from time to time. This is the system you will deploy with little investment of time and money.
Semi Intensive pig keeping: you will use this system when you want to keep your pigs in a house and pay good attention to health and feeding. Production is higher and the pigs are also marketed. This system is commonly used by medium scale pig farmers in Kenya.
Intensive pig keeping: you will deploy this system when you want to produce meat efficiently for the market and for profit, usually in large numbers. You will have to invest significant time and money and carefully calculate your costs and resulting benefits. Be ready to invest in modern housing and on pig requirements for health and feeding.
Further to the above pig farming systems, you have to decide on a Pig Production System strategy.
Farrow to Wean: here you keep a parent stock of pigs and which give birth to piglets. Once the piglets are born, you rare them up to weaning and sell to growers and fatteners. You sell piglets only.
Farrow to Finish: here you raise piglets , wean them, grow them and fatten them in one unit. You sell pork, and live pigs to slaughter houses. Adopt this strategy if you have no market for piglets in your locality.
Fattening: Here you do not keep any parents on your farm. You continuously buy piglets and grow them for pork.
How to work around the business numbers for your Piggery Unit
Just like any other business, you have to plan before you seek to start up your pig farm business. Whereas today we have increasing markets and prices for pig and pig products, we’re increasingly facing high costs of production that could eat into your profits if we do not carefully plan for these costs.
No matter what system of production you choose to adopt, commercial pig production is highly profitable if proper husbandry is followed.
The following assumptions will help you project your business profitability as an average farmer:
A Piglet at 2 months, average weight 12Kg
Pig Average Weight Gain (ADG) per day is 0.607Kg
Breeding pigs are capable of producing 2 litters per year
Based on a service/gestation/farrowing/weaning/recovery cycle of 183 Days, each female pig could produce 20 piglets per year.
Factors that will affect your Pig Farm Profitability
Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR): or Feed Conversion Efficiency (FCE): is the measure of a pig’s efficiency in converting feed mass into increased body mass. Specifically, FCR is the mass of the food eaten divided by the body mass gain, all over a specified period. Animal breeds with a low FCR are considered efficient users of feed.
Average Daily Gain (ADG): is a significant factor in assessing growth rates in most food animal species. Your aim is that you keep a pig that grows faster so that you can achieve market weights in shortest period of time using the least amount of input/cost so that you receive the highest profit. In pig production, the most cost-efficient feed conversion and the highest average daily gain are the primary factors determining efficiency of production.
Health: poor health will up the feed conversion ratio and reduce the average daily gain. Diseases like African Swine Fever (ASF) can wipe away all your pigs and cause a massive loss.
Genetics: The current market demands leaner carcases , so you should strive to produce leaner pigs, animals with high growth rate, larger litter size, high heritability and low conversion ratio. All these are directly influenced by genetics.
Reproduction: poor selection of the breeding stock and choice of a boar or artifical insaminate will directly affect your pig farming business profits.
Market and price: the market for pigs and pork is wide but has no importance before you identify your own market and the price it offers.
We have many butchers, restaurants, hotels and supermarkets establishing today with pork on their menu both in Urban and rural areas. Pork is a delicacy to many Kenyans and largely considered a social meat that cannot miss on several parties. Pork joints have also become meeting places for groups of people who want to eat meat. Unlike other meats, many pork consumers in Kenya prefer eating close to a kilogram of pork each time they meet at a pork joint!
Costs: Items you will have to spend money on, when establishing your Pig Farming Business
Fixed Costs: you will incur these before you start any production. They remain the same irrespective of any production increases or decreases and include: Building costs, Purchase/construction of feed troughs, Purchases or replacement of breeding stock, and Purchase of land.
Variable Costs: costs that will change in proportion to your production levels including Veterinary costs, stationary , transport , Maintenace of facilities, Marketing costs, wages and salaries , and losses due to mortalities.
Income: The sources from which your business expects money to come from will also affect your profits. Your Pig Farming Business could expect to make money from the sale of Weaners, Porkers and baconers, cull boars and sows, breeding boars and sows ,as well as sale of Manure.
Profits: This is the difference between your costs and income. The costs should include labor and any possible risk in your business. The most expensive input in pig production is feeds because it consumes between 60 to 80% of the total production costs. You have to implement strategies that will reduce the input costs in your business.
There are several questions that a would-be pig farmer asks before getting started. One of them is how to survive in the market and how to get started.
Another poser is on the amount of money that one can put into the venture – and at what point the enterprise will be profitable.
The most important element is to understand the entire market and the pig value chain which we shall deal with in coming issues of Top Farmer.
If you are considering engaging in pig farming business then probably you are worried about many things. Is there a ready market? How much capital is required to start small? How has the Kenyan industry fared over the last 1 year? Well, look no further because this article has answered all these questions albeit briefly.
- How’s the industry performing currently?
The pig market has been out-performing other notable markets, including poultry farming and real-estate, since 2010. However, the industry seems to have stabilized between 2014 and 2015 although it is still clear that demand currently outstrips supply.
There are great opportunities for investors who are ready to work extra hard i.e. in keeping quality breeds, marketing, value addition, innovation and perfect timing.
- What are the basic requirements?
You need at least a 40ft by 60ft piece of land to construct some sheds and a store for your farm. Make sure this piece of land is located in a quiet place and that there is adequate supply of water. Availability of good transport infrastructure is also an important factor to consider.
- How can I get started? (Ideal Budget: Ksh150,000)
Assuming you have a piece of land and some properly built sheds in place, the next important thing to do is to buy at least two pregnant sows. Each sow goes for about Ksh50,000 at the prevailing market price meaning that you will require about Ksh100,000 just to purchase the animals. You will also require an additional Ksh50,000 to cater for transport, feeds etc.
Within a few months, your sows will produce about 11 piglets each and therefore your community of pigs will have grown to 24. From that point, you will have to wait for about 7 months for the piglets to mature and be ready for sale.
Can I Get Training?
Yes. There are several agencies and entities that train farmers on the best practices of pig rearing. You may want to contact the Department of Livestock, which is located at Hill Plaza 7th floor for more professional advice on pig rearing and marketing.
Also, one of the commercial pig companies in the country – Farmer’s Choice – provides free educational material on this topic.
- How Are Pigs Fed?
Pigs are best feed with rice bran which can be bought in Mwea Rice Fields (Kirinyaga County) for Ksh450 for 70kg or Ksh1,600 for the same quantity in Nairobi. Mix the bran with maize germ, pollard, molasses and mineral supplements.
Cabbage can also be added and it costs between Ksh100 and Ksh150 per bag at your local Wakulima market. Pigs are fed once a day and provided with clean drinking water.
- Is There Market?
Yes, there is market. In fact in some cases current farmers have remarked that “demand currently exceeds supply.” You can decide to sell your piglets to other farmers – each piglet goes for Ksh5,000.
Alternatively, you can sell pregnant sows for Ksh50,000 to farmers who are just starting. But that’s not all – here are some alternative pig markets available in Kenya.
When slaughtered a 60kg carcass goes for Ksh13,800 on average. While one that weighs 70KG goes for Ksh16,100. Assuming that you slaughter your entire first breed of 22 pigs, each weighing 70kgs then you can expect to make
Ksh354,200 in the first 7 months of investing.
The biggest commercial pig buyer in Kenya is Farmer’s Choice with a demand of 500 pigs per day. Another commercial entities that buy directly from farmers are Oscar Chef’s Choice, Hurlingham Butcheries and Olive Enterprises (Limuru).
Confirmed abattoirs or slaughterhouses that buy pigs from farmers include:
Ndumboini Farm Slaughter House – Kikuyu, Kiambu County
Lyntano Slaughter House – Nairobi
Kabati Slaughter House – Murang’a
Kitengela Pig Slaughter House – Yukos, Kitengela, Kajiado County