Pig Farming in Kenya
Today, pig farming in Kenya is considered to be one of the most lucrative business ventures in Kenya. People who are into pig farming can affirm that it is true. They will confirm that they have reaped quite attracting profits from pig farming.
The fantastic thing about this is that pigs can be raised as a small venture just to provide your family with food and nutrition. Not only this but you also have the chance of expanding it to become commercial. What do we mean by this? All that we are saying is that you can be able to venture more into this business for profit making purpose.
What to consider before starting pig farming in Kenya
For people who want to start farming, they should consider pig farming in Kenya because of various advantages it has over the other farming. One of the best reason why pig farming is better is because it is relatively easy to start and work with.
Well, in this article, we are going to discuss on the things that you will need to know about pig farming. In the end of this article, you will be the one to judge and choose the form of livestock farming that you will want to start and manage.
When it comes to pig farming, feeds is one of the things that should want you to work with this form of livestock farming. In many parts of the world, many people usually set their pigs free and let them roam scavenging for leftovers.
Many people in the rural areas do this but what they do not know is that, setting pigs free to roam about is against the law. What you should do is to always feed our pigs with the leftovers that you always have in your kitchen. If it is not enough, you can get the commercial feeds.
Benefits of Pig Farming in Kenya
According to the condition of Kenya, pig farming has many advantages. The main benefits of pig farming in Kenya are listed below.
- Pigs grow faster than other livestock animals and reproduction system takes less time.
- They grow faster by converting more nutrient/energy into protein.
- You can feed your pigs almost everything including roughage, kitchen garbage, agricultural waste etc. for reducing feeding cost.
- You can fulfill your daily family nutrition demands by setting up small scale pig farming in Kenya.
- You can start raising pigs with a very little investment. As pigs grow very fast, so you can turn your farm into a commercial stage within a very short time.
- Sow give birth of piglets twice a year and each time they produce about 10 piglets. And the gestation period is also very less (not more than 115 days).
- Pig farming in Kenya has a good return of investment (ROI) ratio.
- The weather and geographical location of Kenya is suitable for starting pig farming business.
- Pig meat has a huge demand in the market of Kenya.
- Great source of employment for the unemployed people. Even the unemployed educated people can also start commercial pig farming business in Kenya.
- You can also start raising pigs along with your current profession.
Pig Farming in Kenya – How to Start Pig Farming in Kenya
Setting up commercial pig farming in Kenya is not so easy. There are may things to consider and many tasks to do.
Pig Farming in Kenya – Selecting Suitable Farm Land
Selecting a suitable land is very important for starting pig farming in Kenya. A suitable land with availability of all types of necessary facilities ensure proper growth, good health, proper marketing and maximum profit from pig farming business. Determine the area and size of farm land according to the number of pigs in your farm. While selecting lands for pig farming in Kenya, consider the followings.
- Try to select a calm and quiet place far from the residential areas.
- Ensure sufficient supply of fresh water in the farm area. A water source like lake, pond, river etc. will be effective.
- The selected area will be very near from the market. So that you can easily sell your products and buy necessary things from the market.
- Consider availability of veterinary service near your farm land.
- Good transportation system.
- Low cost feeding elements help to reduce food cost. While selecting land consider this.
- Try to select land in village areas. Because in village areas, you can easily find cheap labor, feeding elements and lands.
Pig Farming in Kenya – Select Suitable Breeds
- A pair of bright eyes.
- Glossy coat.
- Alert and responsive to it’s surrounding environment.
- Good temperament.
- Good appeal to food.
- Easy and normal movement.
- Free from lameness or any other unnatural signs.
- Avoid purchasing aggressive pig.
- While purchasing, ask the producer about their health information, production history and other records.
Pig Farming in Kenya – Housing
Pigs are very strong and they need sturdy living quarters. Air circulation and shade are vital. Pigs are very sensitive to temperature. Generally, adult pigs are very sensitive to hot temperature and the piglets are affected adversely by cold temperature. So, controlled temperature can help to maximize the growth and production. Keeping the piglets with their mother in a separate house is a good idea. Separate the feeding and bedding place and try to keep the house neat and clean always.
Pig Farming in Kenya – Feeding
Feeding is the most important part of pig farming in Kenya. Because, good and nutritious food always ensure good production. Pigs can eat and consume both meat and grains. You can feed your pigs almost everything that includes roughage, kitchen garbage, agricultural waste, stalk from beverage companies etc. You can also feed your pigs cooked table scraps, vegetables etc. Corn is the main food of pigs. But, having a diet with protein from soybeans or cooked meat will be effective for pigs. Vitamins and other supplements also help to grow faster. Piglets need higher protein contained food than the adult pigs. Along with sufficient nutritious food, always serve them sufficient amount of fresh and clean water according to their daily demands. Sufficient fresh water helps to keep the pig healthy and this directly impact the profit from pig farming in Kenya.
Pig Farming in Kenya – Breeding
Pig breeding is very easy. Pure breeding, cross breeding, out breeding and in breeding is the common types of pig breeding models. Most of the pig breeds has a less gestation period of not more than 115 days. Sow produce piglets twice a year and about 10 piglets each time.
Pig Farming in Kenya – Marketing
There is a huge demand of pig products in the market. Pig products such as pork, bacon, sausages etc. are very popular throughout the whole Kenya. So, you don’t need to worry about marketing your products if you want to start pig farming in Kenya. Sell your pigs in your nearest local market when they gain marketing weights.
Commercial pig farming in Kenya is very popular and profitable business and it is one of the worthwhile activity to engage in. The demand is very high and the market is growing rapidly. But the supply is still limited. So, there is a great opportunities of starting commercial pig farming in Kenya.
Pig Farming in Kenya – Video
Pig Farming in Kenya – News
Pig Farming in Kenya – Top pig farmer shares what makes his farm tick
American author and businessman Clement Stone coined the now famous quote: “When life hands you a lemon, squeeze it and make lemonade.”
This dictum rings true to Michael Wanyoike, 66, to whom the 2007/2008 post-election violence handed a lemon. He did not sulk or curse after the 12 beef cattle he was rearing at his 50-acre Kongoni Farm in Isinya, Kajiado County, were stolen by people who took advantage of the chaos to disinherit others. He lost Sh300,000 in the theft.
After the chaos, he picked up the pieces and eight years later, he has risen to be the best Farmer’s Choice bacon producer in Kenya for three consecutive years in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
“I bought the farm in 2003 but did not know how to utilise it to make money. In early 2007, I was advised by a friend that Isinya was very ideal for beef cattle. I took the advice and bought 12 mature animals at Njiru market in Nairobi.
There was a lot of fodder on my farm and in six months, the animals were fat enough for the market. But as I was readying to sell them, thugs, who were taking advantage of the 2007 chaos took away all the 12,” narrates Wanyoike.
Despite the setback, Wanyoike did not abandon his quest to put the land in the semi-arid region into good use. In 2009, with no previous experience, he ventured into pig farming.
“I realised that cattle keeping in the area is prone to rustling. It was at that moment that I decided to get into pig farming since the animals are rarely stolen.”
Having held a white collar job all his working life, the father of four did not know where to start to actualise his new dream. But Farmer’s Choice extension services came in handy in actualising the former BAT Kenya human resources director’s dream.
“They gave me the basic information on pig farming. But what was more important is that they recommended me to some accomplished farmers in Nairobi and Murang’a, who I visited. These visits gave me the inspiration and confidence to implement my plans. Since then I have been learning new things every now and then.”
After the learning experience, he was ready for the toil, which he started by purchasing his first stock of six pregnant sows at Sh30,000 each from Farmer’s Choice.
From that moment, he has never looked back and listening to him now talk about pig farming, and what it takes to produce the best bacon in the country, you could easily take Wanyoike who has 550 pigs at any moment for a university professor with a PhD in animal husbandry.
Pig Farming in Kenya – Practical Experience
Wanyoike, whose pig farming knowledge is from practical experience right from the onset, attributes his success to pig management practices that he adheres to.
“I make sure that I keep breeds that are good farrowers (giving birth prolifically) and fast-maturing,” he says. On his farm, Wanyoike keeps three breeds for various reasons.
These are Landrace, Large White and Duroc. Landrace are long, big, farrow more and are very good mothers. On the other hand, Large White are big and strong while Duroc grows very fast, puts on weight fast and are heavy.
“Farrowing should be at least twice a year. I make sure that the sows are properly fed and kept in good health to ensure they come to heat soon after farrowing. Equally important is that boars should be well-fed and be healthy for proper serving and prevent spreading of diseases.”
He is excited about the recent introduction of artificial insemination services for pigs that enhance the chances of achieving two farrows a year.
“In the last two months, we have been using AI on our sows. This is a milestone as it guarantees quality breeds while reducing the risk of disease infections through mating. We purchase semen a dose at Sh1,500 from Farmer’s Choice and do the serving ourselves on the farm”.
For optimal returns on investment in pig farming, Wanyoike focuses on ensuring that each farrow has at least 10 piglets a litter.
Pig Farming in Kenya – Good Selection of Breeders
“The number can be up to 15 but on my farm the average is 12. Anything less than 10 is not good business. To achieve a good litter, you have to do good selection of the breeders, ensure they are healthy and stress-free.”
Another factor that he considers is to make sure that his piglets weigh at least a kilo each.
“This is very important because the birth weight indicates the health of the piglet and how it is going to mature. A piglet weighing below one kilo will need more time with the mother, is delicate and susceptible to stress and diseases and will also cost more before going to the market compared to the one with good weight. What is important to keep in mind is that the weight of the piglets depends on the health of the mother.”
On his farm, weaning is done a month after birth. “A pig’s gestation period is three months, three weeks and three days. This means that if you wean after one month, the mother should move back to production cycle soon enough and, therefore, help you achieve the two litter a year target,” explains Wanyoike.
“The weight gain for the piglets has to be properly managed. We strive to ensure that at weaning, the piglets weigh between 7 and 8kg. At three months, they should weigh 20kg and, thereafter, gain 0.45kg daily,” he adds.
In most cases, Wanyoike sells his pigs for slaughter when they are six months. At this time the pigs’ live weight is usually between 90 and 105kg each.
“At around six months, the pigs stop putting on weight. This means that if you do not sell them at that age, they will be eating into your profits as you will continue feeding them although they are not gaining weight.
This will also interfere with the quality of the carcass, especially the fat-depth, which is very critical in grading of meat quality.”
Pig Farming in Kenya – Cost of Feeds
One of the biggest challenges facing pig farmers is the quality and cost of feeds available in the market. Wanyoike has been able to overcome this by making his own feeds.
“When I started my project, I could not get quality feeds. I tried mixing the feeds to attain the recommended quality but this was tedious and costly. To overcome this challenge, I decided to establish a feed factory in Thika, Bewa Animal Feeds, where I make feeds for my pigs and also sell to other farmers,” says Wanyoike, who makes the feeds from wheat bran, wheat pollard, maize germ, soya, omena, sunflower and vitamins and mineral supplements.
Equally important to feed is water and he has sunk a borehole for his animals.
The services of qualified personnel are also key to success at Kongoni Farm.
“Recently, I engaged a trained graduate in animal husbandry and this has turned around my business. Since she took over, we are able to achieve our quality targets. There are no short cuts to using experts for a successful venture in pig farming,” says Wanyoike. He has also engaged the services of two skilled workers and two casuals.
Wanyoike, who says his family gives him moral support although none seems to be interested in joining him in this farming, has started reaping big rewards from his pig farming business.
He sells at least 50 pigs every month at an average of Sh14,000 a head to Farmer’s Choice, the biggest processor of pig products in Kenya. He hopes to increase this number to 100 given the improved management practices in his farm.
He is encouraging more people to venture into the farming given the rising consumption of pork and other pig products in the country driven by the bulging middle class and influx of expatriates, especially Chinese.
Pig Farming in Kenya – Artificial Insemination
Initially, artificial insemination services among pig farmers was an expensive venture because they had to import semen from as far as Britain. The service was, however, introduced by Farmers Choice few months ago to boost quality of pig breeds. A dose of semen costs Sh1,500, and a pig is served twice for a complete dosage. The storage box is cold enough and can safely store the semen for about three days by keeping it under 17 degrees Celsius.
Peris Wangari, the farm manager at Kongoni Farm in Isinya, Kajiado County, says sows need to be prepared before they are inseminated, a process which takes between four to five days.
“Once a sow has shown sign of heat, for instance mounting on others, it is brought to interact with a boar for a few hours every day to stimulate it,” Wangari said.
“When the sow is ready for insemination, its vulva is washed using a disinfectant to prevent infections, if any, from entering the pig’s uterus.”
The catheter (a flexible tube used for insemination) is inserted through the animal’s vulva after which a bottle of semen is discharged into it.
“The catheter is inserted upwards so that it goes into the animal’s uterus,”Wangari said, adding the dosage is given twice to minimise errors.
The farm inseminates about 10 pigs every month so that as a bunch of animals are sent to the market, a new set of piglets are delivered. The planning ensures they never run out of pigs to deliver to their buyer.
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