The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization states that pork is the most consumed meat in the world followed by poultry and beef. In Zimbabwe, pig production has great potential to improve household income and also make positive contributions to the economy. However the industry has its own challenges such as lack of competitiveness, compliance and slaughter costs.
In order to run a successful pig enterprise in Zimbabwe you must have passion about pig production. So the first thing you need is capital. Capital can be from own savings, loans from banks or other sources. Capital is required to buy equipment, breeding stock and feed. Capital requirements should be clearly laid out in your business plan. The amount you need to start the project depends on your target scale of production.
There should be enough land to construct pig houses. This land should be well drained and usually flat land is recommended. There are different types of pig houses depending on scale of production. Pig houses should be constructed in such a way that they have sufficient space and are well ventilated.Pig houses often include boar pen, sow, gilt pen, finishing pen and farrowing pen. All these houses should be equipped with drinking and feeding troughs and also with concrete floors for ease of cleaning.
When you have your housing structures in place the next thing you should look for is animal feeds. Feed management in a piggery unit is very important .About 80-85% of production costs in pig production comes from feed. Poor management of feed will result in reduced profits and compromised pork quality. Monitoring of feed is essential to maintain or reduce costs. Pigs can be fed from straight feeds, concentrate mixtures or feed formulated on the farm. One way of reducing feed costs is to buy commercial feeds in bulk and negotiate a discount. Another way involves on farm feed formulations however this requires someone with knowledge about feed formulations. Clean water should be available on the piggery at all times.
Before you venture into pig farming you should have sufficient knowledge .The technical knowledge about basic animal health management, breeding, feeding strategies and general day to day issues are a must and also on how to successfully manage the enterprise. You can get this knowledge through interacting with established farmers and knowledgeable individuals. On the other hand you can get training about pig production from organizations such as Pig Industry Board of Zimbabwe (PIB).PIB is mandated to develop pig industry in Zimbabwe. They offer extension and training services to pig farmers among other functions. The next thing is market availability. Before you venture into production you should carry out market research .You should supply to a well-defined market which is reliable and also supply consistently. Common markets often include abattoirs and butcheries. Your market should also be close to your enterprise in order to reduce transport costs.
After all is sorted out you source breeding stock depending on a chosen breed. The most common breed reared under commercial production is the large white, other breeds include landrace, dalland, duroc etc. High quality initial breeding stock is important. This usually determines the success of your enterprise. Breeding stock should be sourced from reputable suppliers or well-established pig farmers .PIB also sell quality breeding stock to pig farmers. Once high quality breeding stock has been obtained they should be well-fed with recommended feed portions, well watered and continuous monitoring of any diseases or any deviation from normal health until a market size has been reached. In general the market size is reached at around five to six months. Also maintain up to date records in order to track your progress.
In conclusion pig production requires someone who is passionate, dedicated, and patient and also someone who is willing to learn along the way. To be successful you have to consult specialists and also other established pig farmers.