Nigeria - The Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) has thrown its full weight behind the development and expansion of pig farming across the country.
Professor Placid Njoku, president, NIAS, who made the pledge in Lagos recently at a national pig farmers’ forum organised by the association under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, Abuja, noted that the challenges faced by the country in securing food as well as nutritional security to fast growing population need an integrated approach for livestock farming, particularly pig farming.
Njoku who stressed that, among the various livestock species, piggery is the most potential source of meat production and more efficient feed converters after the broiler, promised pig farmers in the country that the institute and the ministry were ready to alleviate the plights of the farmers and ensure better operational conditions that would guarantee the advancement of pig farming and ensure food security.
The seminar, designed to educate pig farmers on hygiene, swine flu and ways of maximizing production and profit, would be held in all the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Dr. Olayiwola Onasanya, state co-ordinator, FADAMA Project of Lagos state agriculture development authority, who represented the Permanent Secretary of Lagos state ministry of Agriculture, noted that, apart from providing meat, it was also a source of bristles and manure and would provide employment opportunities to seasonally employed rural farmers and supplementary income to improve their living standards.
Stressing the need for pig farming development, he said it proposed great advantage to food security as it had the highest feed conversion efficiency i.e. they produce more live weight gain from a given weight of feed than any other class of meat producing animals except broilers.
According to him, the pig can utilise wide variety of feed stuffs; grains, forages, damaged feeds and garbage and convert them into valuable nutritious meat.
He however noted that, feeding of damaged grains, garbage and other unbalanced rations may result in lower feed efficiency.
Speaking on the advantages of pig farming, he said pigs are prolific with shorter generation interval, adding that a sow can be bred as early as 8-9 months of age and can farrow twice in a year. They produce 6-12 piglets in each farrowing and pig farming requires small investment on buildings and equipment.
He said further that, pig manure is widely used as fertilizer for agriculture farms and fishponds and store fat rapidly for which there is an increasing demand from poultry feed, soap, paints and other chemical industries. Pig farming provides quick returns since the marketable weight of fatteners can be achieved within a period of 6-8 months. There is good demand from domestic as well as export market for pig products such as pork, bacon, ham, sausages, lard etc.
On the management of pig farming, Njoku said modern and well established scientific principles, practices and skills should be used to obtain maximum economic benefits from pig farming. He advised farmers to vaccinate the newly purchased animal against diseases, keep the newly purchased animal under observation for a period of about two weeks and then mix with the other animals, ensure good feeding management and protection against disease as well as purchase animals in two batches at the interval of three months.