Uganda Farmer Earns 2M per month from breeding pigs
I started breeding pigs for both farmers and pork in 2008 having seen a gap the farmers were facing especially those that are engaged in modernisation of agriculture. Farmers were failing to get good breeds that would help them get their money back quickly.
I also realised that I was approaching retirement age and my salary was not enough to support my family, hence the need to supplement my earnings. I started with 12 one-month-old piglets, six males and six females, which were very well selected for excellent results.
The advantage of rearing pigs is that I am able to sell them from as early as one month old.
To get good results, each pig should have between 14 to 16 teats or nipples, the more the tits for either the sow or the boar, the higher the litter.
If a sow has 14 teats, it is more likely to produce 14 to 16 piglets. But because each has to use a teat to suckle, the other two are likely to die.
For a boar, 16 nipples are ideal as the number will translate to the offspring. It should also have strong legs, long body, well developed and protruding scrotum, bright face and should look aggressive.
To avoid in-breeding, the males have to be constantly changed and or got from other farms so that the “father” does not reproduce with its “daughters”. Also, boars from the same litter should either be castrated or sold off when they attain mating age.
It is very important for every farmer and breeder to keep records of the animals and their performance: Breeding, servicing, birth, weaning weight, feeding, tagging for identification. To know when they are no longer of economic value is very necessary. To ensure that farmers adhere to better pig rearing, I have also opened up a training centre at my farmers where those interested come for training at a fee.
It is prudent to track sows that produce a large litter so as to maintain a good breed. Weaning should be done between two to three months and if properly managed, three litters can be attained in a year.
After weaning, it takes only five days for the sow to go on heat. This can be detected by the swelling of the vulva and redness. The gestation period is three months and three days. Keep the breeding male in a separate pen and always take the sow to the boar’s pen for better results when it is on heat.
I selected the Camborough breed because it grows fast, gives large litter and is big in size. The highest litter I have ever got is 18 piglets while the average has been 13.
The first batch cost me Shs120,000 each and the housing Shs1m. I have since expanded the housing to seven pens to accommodate 100 animals, but intend to expand to 16 pens, which can accomodate 200 animals.
Every month, I earn Shs2m from the sale of piglets to farmers and also pork to hotels in Mbarara and individual clients. Apart from customers within Isingiro, I supply to Rubirizi, Rukungiri as far as Kisoro and Mubende districts.
A piglet currently costs about Shs80,000 and I maintain a controlled number that I can feed properly and break even. From pigs’ waste, I make organic manure, which I use in my banana plantation and vegetable garden where, at times, I get bumper harvests and sell to Mbarara traders.
To control parasites, I give injections monthly for piglets and adult pigs every six months. To minimise on the need for treatment, I keep them in a clean environment and defeated the assumption that pigs are dirty animals.
In fact, pigs are regarded as the cleanest farm animals because they do not defecate where they sleep. If that happens, then that one is abnormal. Pigs behave like human beings because they hide when defecating when they have a proper pen. The housing determines the cleanliness.
For good results, I feed my animals on whey, maize bran and greens. These are supplemented by leftovers from the kitchen. I also give them grasses like Napier (ekibingo), Seteria specie (orutaratumbwe) because of its softness, salt and red soil for iron. Feeding should be done twice a day, in the morning and evening.
From the proceeds, I supported my children until they attained university education. I intend to pursue it as my main business in retirement.
Also, I bought a personal car and improved my house to better standards. I also call upon my fellow civil servants to venture into piggery because it pays.
By Otushabire Tibyangye
The Monitor Newspaper