HHOHHO piggery farmer, Bonsile Mamba said producing quality porkers had become a lifestyle that had also helped her improve her life. She said this was regardless of other farmers having a nightmare producing healthy and quality porkers attractive to customers. She boasts of good quality breeding sows which she mates naturally using a boar and at times artificially using semen milked from superior boars from Mpisi Pig Breeding Station. During an outreach to assess progress in her production, she said she started her piggery business in 2018, more like a hobby because of the love for livestock. As months went by, she said she started making sales and noted that she was making some money. She mentioned that her first breeding stock was sourced from neighbors who were piggery farmers by then however the performance of the pigs was not encouraging for a young but growing business person to keep. In 2019, she said she was introduced to the Mpisi Pig Breeding Center operating under the Pig Industry Enhancement Project (PIEP) from Taiwan ICDF in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and her business started doubling its steps on the right direction. “I attended several pig production workshops from the ministry of agriculture through the livestock extension officers in the region and those supported by PIEP. These workshops have been so instrumental and really catapulted me to my current business being” she emphasised. She further praised Taiwan ICDF and the Ministry of Agriculture for PIEP saying now farmers easily accessed quality breeding stock closer. Adding, Mamba said importing breeding sows or gilts and boars from neighboring countries was now a thing of the past, she said she would be so much pleased if her fellow colleagues could make good use of the opportunity availed to them. Mamba says she sold an average of 30 porkers per month depending on how successful the mating of her sows was. She said it was very important to note that, there more sows she mated and wean piglets successfully, the more chances she would get more porkers to sell. “It is therefore of paramount importance that we (farmers) pay special attention when mating our pigs and caring for the piglets since those are the determining factors whether you will make sales or you will not”. “If I was in power, I would have long ago endorsed that PIEP be turned into a programme and stayed forever. Through this massive project, some unemployed youth have ventured into piggery businesses and they can now pay their bills. This is amazing. The availability of good genetics from this project has propelled even formally employed citizens to consider piggery as their side hustle” Mamba stated. She advised that the sooner one made good use of the opportunities availed by PIEP, the better. She further mentioned that there were piggery officers across the four regions of the country which people should make good use of. She explained that they would take aspiring farmers through the entire process of registration and then link them to the superior breeding stock. Meanwhile, Hhohho Extension Officer Felix Shiba, said that he noted there was a huge difference in Mamba’s production since she started. He reminisced how she used to buy any pig within her reach without considering its quality and age hence emphatically stating that indeed knowledge is power, because now she knew that there was always good quality breeding stock available at Mpisi.
PROJECT Expert Mario Chen said pig manure was more capable of producing a high yield of farm produce when converted to valuable rich soil called compost. He said this as the Taiwan ICDF under the Pig Industry Enhancement Project (PIEP II) facilitated a compost training with the assistance from the Fruit Tree Production and Marketing project expert at Mbabane Library. About 23 aspiring compost makers were equipped and trained about compost making. He urged that they helped preserve the soil as it was a great asset. He said PIEP was trying to promote the green energy, to keep the precious planet valuable. He added by explaining that composting is nature’s process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. Cheng further elaborated on the benefits of compost saying it improved the soil structure, aeration, permeability and porosity. “It also helps to supply a variety of macro and micronutrients. Thanks to its many attributes, compost is extremely versatile and beneficial in many applications. Compost has the unique ability to improve the properties of soils and growing media physically (structurally), chemically (nutritionally), and biologically,” he said. Adding, he said it was essential to pick a right site for making the compost, with no floods or chances of flooding, no direct sunlight and wind. When making compost, he said three ingredients were necessary, those were; carbon source, nitrogen source and water. Elaborating, he stated that carbon source could be from dead organic materials like leaves, bagasse, wood shavings to name a few and the nitrogen source could be from raw manure like chicken manure, pig manure amongst others. Adding, Cheng said combining these sources and adding the right amount of water could give one a good rich soil and a higher yield. He explained that the water content can be measured by picking a handful of the compost and squeezing it, once there was water squeezed out then it is okay, but if none then more water was needed. Cheng was responding to a question asked by a pig farmer, Velaphi Zwane concerning the water content needed to come up with the good compost. Another key thing that was mentioned was to keep mixing the materials, roughly every two weeks until it is ready for use. He however noted that it might take two to three months for the compost to be ready and mixing helped to incorporate oxygen and evenly combine the materials. He also demonstrated that composting was more like cooking, there were certain stages the vegetables to be cooked needed to pass through for them to end up soft and more edible. He said just like the materials needed to make compost, they also had to undergo certain stages. Beneficial “There are certain beneficial bacteria that help to break down carbon and nitrogen sources into finer and softer materials. These bacteria generate heat which results in a higher temperature feel when touching the compost. Basically, there is a mutualism between nature hence compost makes it clear that in this earth everything depends on each other to function and survive,” he further stated. During the question and answer, questions were posed to the instructor including how much water was needed when preparing the compost, how to tell if the compost is ready for use, what ratio is to be used when mixing the required materials and more. Meanwhile, farmer, Siza Dlamini appreciated the training course and stated that Eswatini pig farmers were more privileged to get such a golden opportunity to learn about compost. Interestingly, he said the materials needed to make the compost were cheap and could be locally sourced. He said it was worth knowing that recycling also applies in pig production, valuable products like the topic of the day ‘compost’ could be created from pig waste. Dlamini said they also learnt that not everything that is waste is meant to be thrown away, some can be converted to valuable products like the compost and put into good use which will later benefit humans, plants, soil and animals. “We really appreciate the training, Mr. Cheng encouraged farmers to take the first step and make their own compost. He also motivated us not to be afraid to try, even if we don’t get it right on our first attempt, we should not give up, keep trying and one day you will make it,” he said.
Pig farming or pork farming is the raising and breeding of domestic pigs as livestock, and is a branch of animal husbandry. Pigs are farmed principally for food (e.g. pork; bacon, ham, gammon) and skins. Pigs are amenable to many different styles of farming: Intensive commercial units, commercial free-range enterprises, or extensive farming (being allowed to wander around the home). This week we have Andile Ngwenya from Mbekelweni, Ekudzeni, who was drawn into the pig farming business after he completed school. He aims to grow his pig business to be one of the biggest in the country, supplying big business with everything pork. “After I completed school, I had nothing to do, therefore, I decided to do something which could keep me busy as I was still a young man and had a lot of energy. I opted for a pig farming business, which was in-line with what I always wanted to study in tertiary”. DREAM “My dream came into play in the year 2017. Now my business is showing both success and improvement in many ways. Since then, I have been able to extend the pig houses, which enable me to maintain many pigs. It is worth mentioning that pigs are in demand nowadays and it has proven to be good business for me. “At first, I had only 10 piglets, which I raised to porkers. From there, I was able to sell and buy and then I re-invested to buy some more pigs. The white landrace is the breed I farm because it’s the only breed which is available from Mpisi Pig Breeding Station, but now they have introduced the duroc breed. I want to learn more about the pig breeds and where I can get them so that I can grow my piggery to reach national standards. “The secret in raising pigs is getting them well fed and sufficient water supply. “This is the trick that makes them grow fat and big. I use five basic steps of cleaning and disinfecting my pig houses: Remove organic matter, use a detergent, clean, dry and disinfect. This is an effective way to break the on-farm cycle of reinfection with infectious diseases like swine dysentery or salmonella,” said Ngwenya.
I WILL BE AN EMPLOYER SOON- YOUTH Mbabane – All he wishes for is to see more youth employed. That is a 28-year old, Andile Ngwenya, a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science graduate, has said that he plans to be an employer soon in his pig farming journey. Ngwenya said his love for animals, especially cattle and pigs, saw him delve into the livestock rearing path, because he was having a difficult time securing employment after tertiary. “After two years of job seeking with no luck, I made a decision to create employment for myself and others who are experiencing the same challenge in the country,” said the young entrepreneur. Worth noting is that, according to a study by Trading Economics, unemployment rate in Eswatini is expected to reach 26 per cent by the end of 2023. The study reveals that the rate would be 26 per cent in 2023 and 25.80 per cent in 2024. Ngwenya who hails from Ngudzeni, but now located at Kudzeni under the Manzini region, disclosed that over 10 people would gain employment with this project, very soon. UNEMPLOYMNENT This is one of His Majesty King Mswati III’s wishes, that the youth of the country venture into job creation so as to decrease the unemployment rate. “I started my piggery project in 2017 and am still growing. My pig farming journey began with one sow and I have expanded to 10 sows now. After attending some workshops conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Taiwan ICDF (International Cooperation and Development Fund). “I also did six months’ attachment with the Ministry of Agriculture, veterinary and livestock services, so l had the benefit of being a student and sometimes being a teacher. Being an Animal Science graduate works as an advantage as well,” opined Ngwenya. Further, Ngwenya said that he was trained in pig base, feed formulation, Ecometrix and artificial insemination (AI) to name a few. “It opened my mind about other things that we overlook as farmers like keeping proper records so that it becomes easy to know the cost of your business and how to reduce them if possible. Pig Industry Enhancement Project (PIEP) is a Taiwan funded project that is enhancing pig production in the country. They introduced artificial insemination in the country and improved the breeds at Mpisi Pig breeding station. They also help in extension services together with Ministry of Agriculture,” Ngwenya narrated. According to Ngwenya, there was a huge difference, small farmers no longer kept boars unnecessarily anymore because gilts were readily available at Mpisi. “Number of porkers you sell per week/month on average is between 20 and 30 per month. The number depends on two factors; demand from my market and my production at that particular month. PROFITABLE The graduate when asked if pig farming was profitable, according to him, affirmed that indeed it was profitable. “It is profitable, although it has ups and downs, mostly because of feed prices and scarcity of markets that are willing to buy at my price (E45/kg for now) and PIEP should continue, so that more of emaSwati can have access to the gilts and semen from Mpisi and also benefit from the workshops organized by the specialists from PIEP,” pointed out Ngwenya. The young farmer disclosed that he never thought even for a day that he would fall in love so easily with pig farming, especially as a business with prospects to expand and run it commercially. “The journey has remarkably impacted my life positively. I was not very hopeful when I bought my first pigs but after my first sale batch, I was confident that I needed to buy my first breeding sow. “While I am still energetic in my youth days, I will continue to invest all my energy in my business, more so because it keeps me busy and at the same time, it pumps me money day in and day out. I just hope that my business will one day grow to be a big business so it provides job opportunities for some people,” he gestured. Furthermore, Ngwenya then passed words of encouragement to my colleagues and the youth of Eswatini and advised them to wise up and discover something to pump in money rather than sitting and expecting money from somewhere. “A small business just to keep your hands busy can do rather than bad habits and remember that an idle mind is the devils’ playground,” he advised