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    The Pig Industry Enhancement Project (PIEP) has encouraged pig farmers to ensure that there is quality and safety in pig production. This was during a training of about 230 pig farmers, who were trained on the significance of hygiene in pig slaughter and how it ensured both quality and safety. The training was a result of a collaboration between the PIEP and the Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinary and Public Health sector. The training was replicated in all the regions of the country. Henry Jian, the Project manager emphasized that maintaining high standards of hygiene in pig slaughter is not only essential for ensuring the safety and quality of meat products but also for upholding public health and consumer confidence. He said farmers and slaughterhouses must implement stringent hygiene protocols at every stage of the process, from pre-slaughter preparations to chilling and processing. “By prioritizing hygiene, the meat industry can mitigate the risks associated with foodborne illnesses and demonstrate its commitment to producing safe, high-quality products for consumers in Eswatini” he said. PIEP Coordinator Xolani Ndlangamandla stated that in recent years, consumers have become increasingly concerned about food safety and animal welfare. He said hygiene practices play a significant role in addressing these concerns, ‘as consumers expect meat products to be produced under sanitary conditions and with respect for animal welfare’. He further expressed that farmers and slaughter facilities that prioritize hygiene and transparency in their operations are more likely to earn the trust and loyalty of consumers. Meanwhile. Veterinary Public Health Inspector Tefana Gumedze facilitated the training and stated that ‘hygiene is paramount in every stage of the processing in the meat industry. He said this was particularly in slaughter facilities where cleanliness directly impacts the safety and quality of the final product. Among various animals processed for meat, pigs require special attention due to their susceptibility to diseases and the potential risks associated with improper handling. He stated that it was important to know the rules and regulations that governs the slaughter of livestock in the Kingdom of Eswatini to safeguard public health and maintain consumer confidence. “There are a few laws that were officiated by the government. Compliance with these regulations is non-negotiable, with regular inspections conducted to ensure that facilities adhere to hygienic practices. Violations can result in large fines, closure of the slaughter facility, or even criminal charges in severe cases”, he said. Adding, he said before pigs are slaughtered, proper hygiene protocols must already be in place. He said this included ensuring that workers and transportation vehicles are clean and sanitized to prevent the spread of diseases. He also said pigs should be transported in a stress-free environment to minimize the release of adrenaline and other stress hormones that can affect meat quality. “The pig to be slaughtered itself should be clean. After slaughter, it's crucial to rapidly cool the pig carcasses to inhibit bacterial growth. Hygienic chilling facilities help maintain the quality and safety of the meat by preventing spoilage and reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses. Furthermore, processing areas must be kept clean and sanitized to ensure that no contaminants are introduced during further handling and packaging,” said Gumedze.



    ABOUT 50 pig farmers have been taught on different healthy pork dishes through the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF). The event, held at Mpisi Pig Breeding station over the weekend, was part of the Pig Industry Enhancement Project (PIEP), where Taiwanese assistant technicians prepared meals that were shared with the participants. PIEP Assistant Specialist Coordinator, Ming-feng Lu, said the main objective was to share experiences and cultures between the two nations. The Taiwanese assistant technicians included Sheng-Wei Wang, Guo-ren Chu, Yen-kai Huang, Yan-Zhen Lin, and Ming-feng Lu. Ming-feng Lu also shared that the festivities commenced with an introduction of the project, where they spoke on different topics about pig enhancement as well as how to produce for commercial existence, compost making and more. He said they also educated the participants about the Taiwanese unique customs and further gave them insight on Taiwanese culture. “Our program encompassed a range of engaging activities and the participants also learnt different pig terms, how to interpret and share them with each other as means to foster confidence and promote their communication skills. “Despite our relatively short time of eight months in Eswatini, we aspire to leave behind lasting impressions. Events like this allow us to instill the spirit of kindness especially in children, with hopes that they carry it forward into adulthood,” he said. The event also saw the participants taking part in a workshop led by a Mandarin teacher, Jeff Tseng, who taught them the art of interpreting words. He said the above activity aimed to cultivate patience and concentration among the participants while embracing cultural diversity. Beyond simply expressing Taiwan’s affection for Eswatini, Tseng added that the event sought to nurture personal growth among the participants. “It is our fervent wish that this bond continues to flourish and paves a way for further collaboration in the future and deepening the friendship between our two nations,” added Tseng. On behalf of staff members, Landiwe Malay said they were grateful for learning the cooking tips, especially with regards to health matters.



    “It is best to go for cost-effective measures like artificial insemination (AI) even in pig farming as prices are escalating,” said the Pig Industry Enhancement Project (PIEP) Manager Henry Jian. This was during the second phase of the artificial insemination training held at Mpisi Pig breeding station. This is one of the projects under the Taiwan ICDF. About 38 farmers from the Manzini and Lubombo regions attended the training. Jian said raising a pig from birth till slaughter age was a very challenging journey. He said it required one to have love for what they were doing so that they put their focus and energy in the business, in order for them to gain profit. He also noted that artificial insemination was economical. He said if a farmer had less than 10 sows, he or she advised that they go for pig AI. However, he said for those in medium scale, they could go for a boar. He advised the farmers to ensure that they use good genetics. The project manager added that the farmers could count on the Mpisi breeding stock to help them produce good quality pork. Passion “With the escalation of prices for items needed to run a farm, with no passion for pigs, one can easily give up. With that being said, the artificial insemination procedure is one of the ways which can reduce the responsibility that can come with pig farming,” he said. Further, he displayed a table showing figures of the performance of the gilts sourced from Mpisi after an experiment that was conducted to study the sows’ performances. Jian also presented a graph which showed the performance of the porkers. “When a farmer is dedicated to using the breeds sourced at Mpisi, he is most likely to get an average of 90.46 kg live weight which can give roughly 70 kg carcass weight. With those weights, the farmer would have hit the bull’s eye in the market and would return home with a smile on their face,” he said.



    WOMEN and the youth are now showing interest in pig artificial insemination (AI). At least 36 farmers acquired knowledge on pig artificial insemination from a training workshop that was held at Mpisi Pig breeding station. The trainees were from the Shiselweni and Hhohho regions. Most of the farmers who attended the training on Saturday were women and the youth. The training was influenced by the Pig Industry Enhancement Project (PIEP), which is part of the collaboration between Taiwan ICDF and the ministry of agriculture. PIEP Project Manager Henry Jian said one of the objectives of the project was to improve the breeding efficiency of farmers who are in the pig industry in the country, so that they produce a good final product for the market. The training was conducted in two forms, practically and theoretically. The theory was conducted by the Shiselweni and Hhohho extension officers; Sibusiso Sikhondze and Bhekithemba Shiba. Jian said the practical sessions were conducted by the Mpisi farm female technicians. Farmers who are new in the industry were the ones who were trained so that they were able to strive in the industry in more convenient ways like pig A.I. Project specialist, Zoe introduced the training by explaining the three-way breeding system, which is intentionally adopted to improve the pork sold in Eswatini. “This is possible by providing the farmers with gilts from crossed Landrace and Yorkshire breeds and semen from the Duroc breed. “If a farmer buys the breeding stock from Mpisi, by default their final product will be a porker which has inherited the good production qualities from the three production breeds”, she said. Shiba and Sikhondze trained the farmers explaining in detail what the semen was, how it was collected and stored, how to handle it in a proper way, when the right time to inseminate was and how to inseminate. Sikhondze emphasized on keeping records which assist the farmers to trace the activity of the breeding females. “You need to know the oestrus cycle of your pigs because those days are the ones which determine the whole production. If you miss something in that area, you are most likely to fail in the industry”, he said. He also said the heat period for the sows will only last for two or three days, which was the crucial time suitable for inseminating. Sikhondze said since the semen was not something which is readily available in the shelves, it was important for farmers to place an order once they see the first signs or stage of heat from the sows, as this would avoid wastage of semen and financials in the pig enterprise. Shiba further emphasized on confirming if the sow was pregnant or not by just calculating the number of days after the farmer had inseminated the female pig. He said if the pig did not conceive, it would return on heat roughly after 21 days, but if it conceived it would not. “These are some of the ways that will help you as a farmer to then manage your sow well so that it is able to produce and give you profit. The Mpisi female breeds can produce 12 piglets or more under good management”, he said. Meanwhile, the new farmers were very impressed with the training, they also asked questions during and after the classes so that they acquire as much knowledge on pig farming as possible. Busisiwe Ndwandwe appreciated the training, she mentioned that she always asks someone trained on pig AI to assist her in breeding her sows because she felt that it was a difficult task to do, and it was meant for the male figures. Ndwandwe added that she was confident that she can mate female pigs and they would conceive. She also said seeing young females inseminating the pigs during the training also motivated them as farmers because they work in the farm as technicians, which meant that they do it almost every day and the pigs conceive. A male farmer Sabelo Dlamini expressed his excitement after seeing the number of women and young farmers who attended the training. “I am very happy to see women and the youth venturing in the pig production business. Agriculture in the stability of life and women and the youth in the country seem to be putting more focus and effort in it, there is a bright future ahead for the country” he said.