The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Sunday News Reporter
ONE of the Value Chain Alliance for Livestock Upgrading Empowerment (VALUE) project’s champion farmers based in Marondera District in Mashonaland East Province, Mrs Kimberly Nyatanga broke records when one of her sows farrowed 31 piglets in a single farrowing.
In the VALUE project newsletter, Mrs Nyatanga of Tarara Farm said the “wonder sow” was purchased from the Pig Industry Board (PIB) as breeding stock and serviced through natural mating by a boar also purchased from the board.
“We have always been very careful with the genetics we select for our farm thus the decision early on to work with PIB in procuring quality breeding stock,” said Mrs Nyatanga.
She said the decision to purchase top quality genetics has certainly paid off for them and they were working closely with the PIB, the Department of Veterinary Services and Agritex to manage the piglets.
Mrs Nyatanga noted that since they joined the pig producer business syndicates, she and her husband have been actively involved in training programmes and meetings on commercialisation.
“The trainings on commercialisation we have participated in have been helpful to improve our skills in pig production. Our commitment now is to ensure that we harness the genetics for breeding to ensure that more farmers especially those who are working within the syndicate have access to them.”
PIB head of training, Mr Tamo Muza said they usually expect between 12 and 16 piglets from such breeds, but they have since seen what the breeds are capable of.
Mr Muza said: “In addition to having good breeds, it is essential for farmers to provide adequate feed and vaccinate their breeding stock with the requisite drugs such as Farrowsure and litterguard.”
Mashonaland East integrator, Mr Samson Chauruka said the record-breaking farrowing speaks volumes of the production efficiencies.
“This record breaking and epoch-making feat speaks to productivity and production efficiencies that the project is encouraging to small and medium producers,” said Mr Chauruka.
Meanwhile, another champion pig farmer based in Ward 29 of Chegutu District, Mr Peter Musavhaya was recently elected to lead the Mashonaland West Pork Producer Business Syndicate.
Mr Musavhaya who has a palpable passion for “hogs” that has seen him grow in leaps and bounds, ventured into pig farming seven years ago with a boar and five sows. Through hardwork and sheer determination he has grown to a 60 sow unit serviced by two boars.
Mr Musavhaya said with the formation of the producer syndicates, they were now in a position to come together and drive the commercialisation of small and medium pork producers in their district and province.
Over the past couple of years, small and medium pig producers have been faced with several challenges including droughts, shrinking markets and unreliable access to drugs and vaccines.
In response to this, Mr Musavhaya said the pig producer syndicates will ensure collective action in backward and forward logistics to ease the pressure on individual farmers.
“As a syndicate we are pushing for breed improvement, for better yields, undertaking collective action through bulk input suppliers especially drugs such as farrowsure and marketing of slaughter stock and working to address bottlenecks along the whole value chain,” he said.
He also noted that the syndicate is working to lower the cost of production mainly driven by feed costs which constitute between 60 to 85 percent of all production costs. He said one of the ways being explored and encouraged is on-farm feed formulation.
“On my farm l grow maize and soybean which I process using a grinding mill on the farm. On farm feed formulation has the potential to cut feed costs by up to a third, I would urge pig producers to grow their own maize and soybean and then buy premixes,” said Mr Musavhaya.
Besides being a well-established pig producer, Mr Musavhaya is a fully fledged livestock farmer with interests in cattle ranching and goat rearing and he is currently running an experiment with Saneen and local goats to venture into goat diary.
He is also in the process of establishing a slaughter house with cold chain facilities, which will be accessible to other pig producers under his leadership in the district.