- Posted October 27, 2012 by
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Farmer who has kept pigs for 26 years
Nevertheless, he says the undertaking can turn out to be lucrative like any other business.
He says he underwent difficulties when he first began the project, prompting him to abandon it severally but he is glad he made it.
As a beginner in the project, Githae says he incurred losses following regular pigs’ death, caused by infection of lungworms and other diseases. This was because he fed the animals with contaminated foods such as kitchen wastes from his own home and hotels which are not recommended.
“I started by keeping five pigs in 1986 in my one acre piece of land which proved to be so difficult especially for lack of resources to sustain them,” he points out.
He points out that to date, some farmers still rely on the remains to feed their pigs stock, which has led to losses as the waste are harmful to the animals.
Currently, Githae owns over 100 mature pigs and 50 piglets in his one acre piece of land. He sells his pigs to the Farmer’s Choice, where a 60 kg pig goes for Shs 13,800 while a 70kg pig costs Shs.16, 100. He also supplies local hotels and butcheries in Nyeri town with the meat.
The farmer keeps three types of pigs which are common in Kenya. They include the Wessex Saddleback, large white and Landrace.
Other than selling pigs for both pork and rearing, he also sells manure to farmers, which usually has very high demand in the area whose major economic activity is farming. This is also because the manure has high level of nutrients and minerals essential for plants growth.
A wheelbarrow of manure is sold at Shs. 200 while a canter full of the manure weighing 7,000 kilos to 11,700 kilos costs between Shs. 10,000 to Shs. 12,000.
The farmer whose project is situated less than 3 kilometres from Nyeri town claims the business has played a big role in improving his livelihood.
“I have managed to educate my children in both secondary and university levels through the business. It also enables me fuel my car every day as well as feeding my family,” he says.
But Githae states that the job has its own share of challenges among them high food prices. Their prices especially, Sow, Weaner and pig Finisher meals’ prices greatly vary from town to town in Nyeri County.
The argument was supported by 2011 statistics from the Central Province Livestock offices which showed that a 70 kg sack of Pig Finisher was worth Shs. 2,200 in Nyeri Central, Nyeri South between Shs. 2,100 to Shs. 2,200, Shs. 1,500 in Mukurwe-ini, Shs. 1,700 in Kirinyaga West and Shs. 1,750 in Mathira.
Sow and Weaner for pigs went for Shs. 2,000 in Nyeri Central, Shs. 2,100 in Nyeri South, Shs. 1,550 in Mukurwe-ini, Shs. 1,900 in Kirinyaga West and Shs. 1,550 in Mathira West.
This according to Githae is unfair and he suggests that the price be harmonized and reduced so as to treat all farmers equally in the county and the country as a whole.
“The companies manufacturing pig feeds should try and harmonise the prices of these essential feeds regardless of the areas they come from. The price should be the same for the farmer in Nyeri, Kisumu or any other region,” Githae adds.
But there is also the problem of worms and diseases. In Central Kenya, diseases commonly affecting pigs are usually pneumonia, diarrhea, piglet anaemia and Helminthiasis. Helminthiasis is a macro parasitic disease of humans and animals in which a part of the body is infected with parasitic worms such as pinworm, roundworm, or tapeworm.
But he says they work closely with field officers who work with farmers to control any disease.
“Pigs are attacked by louse and it is therefore advisable to clean the floor and change beddings regularly. And in case of disease attack, a farmer should immediately seek the services of a veterinary officer so that the animal can be attended to before it is too late. This should be done as soon as the animal displays any signs of a disease,” Githae advises pig farmers.
The Provincial Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Patrick Njau says pigs can be attacked by diseases such as Swine dysentery (enteritis), a stomach disorder that affects pigs but is common in young pigs, and Worms’ which compete with the animal for the food taken. Worms multiply in the animal body and some are carriers of harmful microorganisms like lungworm which causes pneumonia. Others are lice, foot rot and pneumonia which affect the respiratory tract.
He says feeding should also be taken seriously to ensure that pigs diet is balanced. An average pig eats about two to three kilos of feed per day, depending on what kind of food you give to the pig according to Githae. But he at times feeds his five kilos in a day per pig. He feeds them twice in a day.
Githae’s advise is that farmers intending to start keeping pigs should have low crude fibres which should contain all nutrients required by pigs.
Commercial feed mixtures commonly used are Sow and Weaner meal which are used for all breeding animals and growing pigs from weaning to about 50kg live weight, pig finishing meal is used for finishing pigs from 50kg live weight ready to sell and creep pellets which are used from 2 weeks to weaning.
He advice farmers who want to start keeping pigs, to begin researching or learning more about pigs including their diseases and symptoms, various breeds and their characteristics before starting with an experimenting stock of about 2-3 pigs.
Githae’s future plans are to raise the number of his pigs to over 100. He adds that many farmers do not like venturing in the business because of frustrations one gets and also lack of feeds and patience which is required in every business.