Rearing pigs in Kenya has over time become a lucrative business. But what are the requirements of starting a profitable business and how much capital is required? Well we will try our best to show you the minimum requirements and how you can become a pig farmer in Kenya. As a pig farmer, one has to decide on the specialized path to follow, for example one can rear pigs for piglets or for selling pork, for sausage as well as bacon and other options. Well, let us assume you have Ksh 100,000 and you are willing to start pig farming and you are rearing pigs targeting farmers choice.
Let us assume for example you have 100,000 Kenya Shillings to invest in pig farming. We will look at the timeline of ROI (Return on Investment) which runs from the pen building and piglet acquisition to selling.
Requirements for pig farming in Kenya
At the start, the initial investment is geared towards housing, breeds and feeds. Feeding accounts for 60 to 70 per cent of the total cost, so expenditure is going to be high that first year.
Before investing one should draw out a typical agribusiness plan that should cover all the necessary cash flow projections for the first year at least. Understanding the local market factors of supply and demand will be key to the pig farmer. It is recommended that one should buy a two-month-old piglet initially; these should be bought from trustworthy farmers. Proper selection is partly ensured by counting the number of teats on a sow this is an indicator of the number of piglets it can deliver. It is also important how one transports the pigs or piglets since they can die due to stress. Pig rearing can be a stressful venture so one should go in knowing what to expect and not readily cut corners.
Important breeds for successful pig farming in Kenya
There are several breeds but the most common in Kenya include;
- the DanBred Landrace,
- the DanBred Yorkshire and
- The DanBred Duroc.
With this three-breed cross, there is full use of hybrid vigor/heterosis as well as optimum production results, a high lean meat percentage and good meat quality.
The Danbred Landrace (LL) is a strong pig with a long back, long nose, good legs, good milking and mothering ability. It has characteristic drooping ears. The breed is known for the good quality of its meat.
The landrace is used in crossbreeding programs to produce Landrace/Yorkshire crosses for commercial farms for production of slaughter baconers.
The DanBred Yorkshire/Large White (YY) is also a strong pig with good daily weight gain, low feed conversion ratio, a high lean meat percentage, good longevity and good mothering capabilities. It is muscular and has characteristic upright ears. Like the Landrace it is used as pure breeds (YY) or 2 way crosses (LY) as mother breeds to produce crosses for commercial farms.
Note: Landrace/Yorkshire sows have very high fertility, good teats, high life expectancy and are very friendly.
The Duroc (D) is used as a terminal sire i.e. it is crossed with the landrace/Yorkshire crosses to produce pigs only for slaughter. It is a strong pig with good feed conversion rates and a high lean meat percentage.
A pig’s nutritional needs will vary with age, weight, and stage of production. Three types of feeds are available with differing protein content. On average, a pig eats two or three kilos a day. The feeds should include all the pig’s nutritional requirements. Diet should include maize bran, cassava, fish meal, cotton seed cake, vitamins as well as water.
A farmer should keep in mind that digestibility of feeds is a factor. Therefore, a farmer should either cook or chop it up to ensure its digestible. For things like grass, leaves like potato vines and peels, and other leafy foods, it is best to sundry for a day to get rid of toxins before they are fed to the pigs.
The housing unit should take into account drainage and separate feeding and watering areas. Methods of housing include structures with a concrete slanting floor or applying Indigenous Micro-Organism (IMO). Using IMO would require digging about a meter deep in the floor area and fill it with saw dust, coffee husks or rice husks. Compared to concrete floors, IMO is cleaner, cheaper and environment friendly. When planning for housing, consider setting aside pens (enclosures) for weaned piglets, pregnant sows nearing delivery, sows that have delivered, sick pigs and boars.
African Swine Fever (ASF)-This is one of the most dangerous diseases. This is because the disease has no vaccine or cure and can wipe out a complete stock. ASF is an acute contagious viral disease affects both domestic and wild pigs. The virus is spread via blood, feces, saliva, urine and vomit of sick animals, which then can contaminate food, farm equipment, vehicles and other objects in the environment. Pigs can also pick up the virus when they eat infected food. It is spread from pig to pig by direct or indirect contact via contaminated items. Contaminated items can include vehicles used to transport infected animals, farm tools, feeding troughs, boots and veterinary equipment. It is thus very advisable for pig farmers to limit pig interaction with the outside world, using clothing and boots especially for feeding pens and troughs should be used only in the pig houses alone and removed when moving in and out of the pens.
Further still, to avoid infections such as these, some framers do not bring in any pork or bacon from anywhere else unless it is from their farm. The virus is present in the meat, bones, blood, skin and all other body parts of infected pigs with the highest concentration in the blood.
Therefore, meat and other body parts can transmit the disease. It is for this reason that farmers should avoid careless disposal after slaughtering sick pigs.
Insufficient knowledge, low health-management skills and poor husbandry practices were identified as the principal factors contributing to the problem of pig stock infestation. It is important to give the pig vaccinations to ensure they will be disease resistant.
If you buy a piglet when its 2 months old, it will be ready for sale within six months. Profits per a grown pig will range from Ksh 20,000 to Ksh, 30,000. In order for farmers to increase their chances of making more profits, it is advisable for them to get into groups and sell in bulk.
Farming in groups gives farmers strong bargaining power. For instance, 50 farmers with three pigs each to sell will have a total of 150 pigs which increases their bargaining power than one selling three pigs to a buyer that wants 150 pigs.
Big companies such as Farmers choice helps farmers with transportation costs by getting pigs from a central but local location which cuts down on those and other costs. Farmers can also attain a lot through groups by starting savings and loans schemes, which enable farmers to access funds easily and repay the money with interest.
We can break down the 100,000 as follows;
- 2 months piglet at Ksh 2000 each
- Housing at Ksh 25,000
- Pig Feeds at Ksh 50,000
- Vaccines and other costs at Ksh 10,000
A pig farmer can also do his/her own processing after inspection by a district Veterinary officer and then slaughter the pig or sell it.