The Pig Producers Association (PPA) is urgently to look into the possibility of constructing a pig abattoir in the central regions to stimulate growth of the industry.
The lack of such an abattoir is hampering development of the industry, which stands on the threshold of a new era as demand for pork rapidly grows worldwide.
The new management of the association, elected at the recent annual general meeting (AGM) of the PPA, will look into this matter and decide on the first rounds of discussion towards it under the leadership of Gideon Goosen as chairperson and William Bosch as vice-chairperson.
The value of trade in pig products around the world runs into billions of dollars every year but Africa enjoys less than five percent of the trade. China, with a fifth of the world’s population, is both the largest producer and net importer of pig products on the planet.
Pork is the most widely consumed meat in the world, followed by poultry and beef, and pig products have some of the most versatile uses on earth.
Although pig farming hasn’t really picked up in Africa like in other parts of the world, a few entrepreneurs are already enjoying the lucrative benefits of this enterprise, and pig farming is growing across West, East, Central and Southern Africa.
Urbanisation and economic growth are leading to the increasing presence of international and local fast food restaurants across the continent. In addition to the entry of fast food brands like KFC and Dominoes, supermarket and retail giants like Walmart (Massmart in South Africa), Shoprite and Spar are introducing a range of pork-dominated Western diets to African consumers.
In South Africa for example pork has overtaken mutton/lamb as the more favourite meat following the 59 percent rise in pig production.
One of the reasons why pig farming is very lucrative is that pigs multiply really fast. One sow (mature female pig) can furrow (give birth to) between 8 and 18 piglets at a time.
The gestation (pregnancy) period for pigs is just four months and sows can furrow up to two times a year. This means that one sow can produce up to 16 – 36 piglets in a single year.
These piglets which reach a market size of 70 kg in six to seven months can sell for up to about N$2,400 each. No other farm animals, except chickens, rabbits and ostriches, can multiply this fast.
Pigs grow to market size very fast because of their amazingly high feed-to-meat conversion ratio. This simply means that for every kilogram of food they eat, pigs produce more flesh (meat) than cattle, goats or sheep.
Pigs are the best and most efficient animals for converting kitchen waste, garbage, leftover food and other non-conventional foodstuffs into meat.
Considering the high rising cost of grains and concentrates used to produce animal and livestock feeds, the ability of pigs to consume a wide variety of foods increases its profit potential as a business. Since they are able to recycle most materials (which they eat and convert to meat), pigs help farmers to largely reduce feeding costs and waste.
Pigs also have a high resistance to diseases and adapt easily to most environments (hot or cold). This makes it possible for pigs to be raised on both a small and large scale.
Unlike cattle, sheep and goats which produce between 50 and 55 percent meat from their bodies, pigs can yield up to 70 percent edible meat because they have a much smaller proportion of bones than meat.
In addition to its high meat yields, meat processors and marketers love pig carcasses because they’re easier to handle and package compared to other types of meat.