Even with the obvious high demand for pig meat (pork) and pig materials in Nigeria and the world at large, the high reproductive rate of pig and the high profitability of pig farming, people still don’t find it easy engaging in commercial pig farming. This can be attributed to several issues observed over time. Few of which are;
- Lack of good knowledge of pigs and pig farming.
- Agriculture generally is being neglected in most African countries, even though we depend mainly on its products, it is designated to rural farmers alone and considered a poor man’s profession.
- Those who are willing to invest in commercial pig farming don’t have the financial capacity to do so
- Lack of support from government and relevant agencies.
- Fear of failing.
- Lack of willingness due to the presumed stress of raising pigs.
- Religious purposes.
- Lack of the required capital caused by no support.
Of all these factors, lack of knowledge about pig farming seems to be leading the gate, Here, we will walk you through all the steps you need to take to start a profitable commercial pig farm in Nigeria.
NOTE: These steps can also be applied in other countries, but we are using Nigeria as a case study here.
In case you are wondering why you should invest in pig farming? Here are the reasons why you should invest in a pig farm.
Why should you invest in pig farm?
- Pigs have a high reproductive capacity, a single sow (Female pig) can produce over 18 piglets (Baby pigs) when managed very well.
- A single sow can reproduce two to three times in a year, depending on the management practices adopted by the owner.
- Pigs eat virtually everything healthy.
- Pigs have high resistance to harsh conditions, meaning they can survive harsh conditions.
- The price of pig meat (pork) is always high in the market.
- The demand of pigs and its products is high in the market.
- Pig can live long as long as they are taken care of by the owner.
- They have high resistance to disease outbreak when compared to other farm animals
- Pigs are easy to keep and manage.
- Pigs can be reared anywhere, it’s not forbidden by law, yes there are areas where eating of the pig is seen as an abomination, this is majorly due to religious belief.
Obviously, from all indications, investing in pig farming is not a high-risk journey, you only need to understand the steps involved very well. The very first step you will take in starting your commercial pig farm is Learning about pigs and pig farming
Learn about pigs
As unimportant as this may sound to many, acquiring the knowledge about pig before starting your pig farm is very important, you can enroll for training, purchase E-materials or employ the services of a trainer but you must acquire basic knowledge about pigs before starting your pig farm.
Here are why acquiring the knowledge about is important
- It will help you carry out basic necessary functions on the farm without having to pay another person, such functions like vaccination, feeding and so on.
- A proper knowledge about the pig is an added advantage on the side of the farm.
- It helps to save costs; you won’t be spending money to carrying out basic duties.
- It is primary to the effective running of your farm.
- A good knowledge of pig will aid your decision making in the course of running your farm.
Once done with acquiring the basic knowledge about the pig, start planning your farm. Plan your farm very well before setting it up.
This very step here is what almost everyone who has in one way or the other attempted commercial pig farming skips, we overlook the power of planning almost all the time without knowing that lack of planning is your first step to failure. A well-planned farm offers more channels for success.
Here are the benefits of drawing your plan before starting your pig farm
- A proper plan is like a guide to all your action; it tells you what to do at all times.
- It reduces errors that can prove costly with time, when you have a good plan, you make fewer mistakes.
- It can help minimize unexpected expenses; your plan will expose any unexpected expenses before they come calling.
- It is good for proper timing.
- A good plan is like a lead; it monitors your day to day activities on the farm.
- Your plan plays an important role in your decision making.
With your plan well crafted, you will know how to carry out your farm, your plan should contain the following.
- The amount at your disposal to start your farm.
- All the materials you need to buy.
- Possible number of employees.
- Number of pigs to start your farm with.
- Feeding cost of the preferred number of pigs.
- Time frame expected to make returns.
Your plan will guide you through all other steps you need to take in your farm, any change can also be added.
For the commercial purpose you need a large area of land, at least four plots of land for a start, pigs enjoy space so you should be ready to expand once you farm starts growing. Where you build your farm is very important in determining how your farm fares. Here are factors to consider before choosing your site.
- Security: You must not build your farm in an insecure area, it will be of no use to have your farm sited in an area where invaders can come at any time and destroy your farm. If the place is not secured, you shouldn’t construct your farm there. Security of your pigs and material matters.
- Accessibility: you should take note of how accessible an area is before constructing your farm in such an area. Your farm should be in a place you can easily move in and out of the farm, there should be a road for easy transport of materials in and out of the farm.
Good water supply:
Water is a significant material in pig farming, pigs love wet areas due to its body type (lack of useful sweat gland). They drink a lot of water; your farm should have a good water source.
- Your pig farm should be sited away from the house; it can cause uncomfortable smells when not taken care of properly.
- Your farm should be spacious, pigs love space.
These are the basic requirement of a good site for pig farms.
Buy all necessary materials
Commercial pig farming requires you to buy the necessary materials for the proper management of your farm
Feeding materials, bowls, pipes for movement of water, drinkers for putting water, wires for security, and lamb for light.
It is worthy to note that at this stage, you should be keeping records of all your expenses on the farm. This is a great way to keep track of the total amount spent which will help you calculate your profit after-sales.
Building your pig house
Depending on your choice of house, your pig house should be segmented, with a pathway in the middle, dividing the building into two (left and right), this pathway is important in feeding your pigs, supply of water and other materials.
There should be a room for storage (This is where food and other necessary materials are stored) the store can be in the same building or be on its own, it all depends on what you can afford and what pleases you.
This is where your pigs are kept. A quality pig pen should bear the following features
- The pens should be divided and spacious, the sow should be kept in the biggest one, pigs love space as stated above.
- It should have a space for feeding, the feeding space will be at the edge of the pen and barricaded with cement from the other part of the pen.
- It should contain a space for water, just like space for feeding, the water area is usually at the other edge of the pen, they turn to it for the drinking of water after picking food from the feeding area.
- A quality pen should have an opening at the end edge, there will be pipe connected to this opening from which waste products are channeled, this is a new feature in the pigpen. It is important because it helps for easy passage of waste materials, their assemblage (Pig wastes are picked by vegetable farmers for manure).
- A good pen should be neat, neatness reduces infection.
- Most preferably (Concrete floor), the floors should be built strong, whichever material used. It should be made strong to withstand pressure from the pig.
- Accessibility: A good pen should be very accessible, two persons can comfortably pass through the pathways at the same time.
Provision of light
May sound unnecessary to many, but it’s good you provide light in your pig farm; it helps to increase security in the farm (Any movement in and out of the farm will be noticed). It keeps your pigs warm at night. A light source is a good temperature moderator. It ensures you can attend to the need of the pig at any hour of the day (with the light on the farm, you can work at night if you wish to work at night).
Buy your piglet
This is a very important step in your preparation stage. You must
- Buy from a trusted agent: This is very important, buying from an agent you can trust ensures you are being sold nice breed, piglets in good condition. This is to prevent being sold from unhealthy piglets.
- Buy piglets with vaccination history: Make sure the piglets have a good vaccination history before purchasing them. It is a point you have to make clear to your seller. Buying pigs with an unhealthy medical history is a bad choice as a beginner.
- Buy good breeds with high survival ability.
Employ the services of a veterinary doctor
You need a private veterinary doctor who will be there from time to time to check your pigs and offer medical advice. This is important in commercial pig farming. A veterinary doctor checks on the pigs provides vaccination when necessary, treats sick pigs in time of illness, and helps to prevent disease outbreak through consultative advice.
To run a successful commercial pig farm, you need the services of others, you can’t do it alone. Your number of workers are dependent on the size of your farm. For a start, you should have 5 to 7 workers. They will take full charge of managing your farm with you. Feeding, vaccinating, and cleaning are a few of the managerial practices they will help you carry out.
Other important management practices to note include.
Keep a record of your activities
To be successful with your pig farming, keep a good record of all your activities, expenses and income, you can run an audit every month to determine where you need to spend more on and where you need to spend less. A good farm record helps your decision making. Even the least of expenses should be noted and documented.
Just like every other animal (human included), your pigs should be fed very well. Feeding in the pig isn’t much of a problem, this is because the pig eats most of the things humans eat, they don’t need a special type of food, though, the food must be balanced and contain all the required classes of food. This will make the pigs grow faster and healthier.
Pigs enjoy enough water and eat less when supplied with enough water so, there should be water always, their water must be changed every day to avoid drinking dirty water. Keep their food neat and store them in a neat environment; meaning, your store should be cleaned all the time before stocking it with new (food) products.
Marketing and sales
Marketing your pigs should start immediately you start your farm fully, get people to know that you will in due time be setting your pigs for sale. Send out flyers if possible, make contact, understand the market, and how to make gains from it. Meet with meat sellers. The more contact you make, the more you expand your coverage.
Generally, commercial pig farming requires both capital and human resources, the farmer needs to acquire at least a basic knowledge of pig or hire an expert to run the affairs of the farm, a good business plan is a great start. Choosing accessible, secure farmland is paramount. Make the pens as comfortable as possible. You must not wait until your pigs are mature enough before you start marketing your products. Marketing starts immediately your farm starts operating.
If you are aspiring to start a pig farm, you can reach out to us for advice, training, and guidance. Comment below and we will reply or you can check our email on the contact us page. We are also open to your questions, suggestion, and more input via the comment box.