Batswana have been encouraged to form syndicates to venture into commercial pig farming to ease costs of maintenance and address uneven supply of pig products to meet demand.
Tselayagwe Investment and Agricultural Co-operative held a workshop on pig breeding for profit to introduce commercial piggery and pig initiative.
In an interview Lucky Modikoane said: “A lot of people are interested in pig farming and reason for that is because of its ability to reproduce. A pig produces in large quantities of offspring and manure. This is education in terms of maintenance, record keeping and caretaking. Nine out of ten breeders just start without a plan of what is happening in the market and who will they will supply to. We were teaching them to partition their businesses for the different types of markets.”
There are types of pigs one can raise to make money such as baconer a pig fit for being made into bacon and ham, typically heavier than both a porker and a cutter. Porker a young pig raised and fattened for food. A pig between pork and bacon weight, raised to produce larger joints
The agricultural co-operative believes pig farmers do not need to rely on selling pigs to increase revenue, they can invest on bio digesters to stock up on biogas and also be suppliers of fertilisers made from manure.
“At entry level we like to encourage individuals to consider group farming as the production costs are a lot less than when starting off alone. We wanted to address pig farming from a perspective of those who are new to the industry and interested must go into it with a commercial perception in order to understand challenges of those who are in the industry are encountering,” Modikoane said.
Pig farming however does come with its challenges. Modikoane said: “The project is labour intensive because a pig can be a host to a lot of diseases and pests, so a pig needs regular treatment and maintenance. So you need to spend money and time to make sure you do not breed diseases next to your pigs. Another issue is that pigs are messy eater which means the feed costs are quite intensive based on the production you are doing. So you have to know what type of production you are into.”
Pig farmer and Bantaro Porkers owner Kagiso Bantaro shared his experiences with pig farming and its products in Botswana. Bantaro said “religious or cultural beliefs are a big hindrance to marketing our pig meat and products as half the population are against consumption of pig meat. So this means our market becomes constrained unlike with those who sell chicken, cow meat.”
“The Covid pandemic also affected us greatly in Botswana as pig meat is not consumed daily like chicken and cow meat but on special occasions such as social events, entertainment spots. So with boarders closed, entertainment industry closed and hotels closed they do not buy our meat, so our supply chain is constricted and the sale of pig is experiencing a very low demand,” Bantaro said.
Presently Bantaro revealed that it has not gotten better for pig meat demand even though restrictions have been eased, as some distributors want certain types of pigs supplied to them.
“Manufacturers want certain types of pigs such as baconer which means we should not keep it more than 10 months and if you do that it will come at a cost to raise the animal because feed subsidy has been ceased by the Ministry of Agriculture.