Despite being a multi-million naira business, a lot of people still overlook this goldmine venture because they consider pigs as dirty animals. But smart farmers who engage in modern ways of raising pigs are making huge profit from pig farming and pork production.
In actual sense, the traditional pig keepers are now switching over to the modern day breed of pigs and hygienic husbandry practices to promote consumption of pork. Currently, the local market is handling about 60 per cent of pigs’ production, while exporting about 30 per cent live pigs worth around N3 billion out of Nigeria to neigbouring countries every year.
However, the demand for pork is rising, especially for dietary purposes of those in the elite circle of the country who are health conscious. A sow (female pig) can give birth up to three times in a year and it gives birth to 10 to 13 piglets at once.
There is currently a health movement known as the Ketogenic Movement that is conscious of diet regimes that involve cut in carbs and high fat to keep fit.
Pig farmers who spoke to Daily Sun at the Porkies Family Hangout in Lagos said in terms of value chain, they have been able to turn pork meat into various varieties of products like sausages, bacon, burgers, barbeque, suya, even with Nigerian local dishes including efor riro (vegetable soup) banga soup, afang soup, pepper soup among other lovely delicacies. In addition, pigskin is used to manufacture beautiful leather products like shoes, boots, handbags, saddles, belts, seats, football and other apparels like shirts, jackets and blazers.
Prince Kola Osunsanmi of Mobenikay Farms Ltd, who was a poultry farmer for eight years before venturing into piggery, said he is more relaxed in his new line of business.
Speaking on the most lucrative aspect in piggery business, he said it is the finishers who buy weaned ones and then fatten them for another three to four months before selling.
He said: “Although I practice from farrow to finish – that is, buying a male and two or more females and breeding them to give birth. The piglets will then suckle their mother for two months, after which you wean and fatten them for another four months before selling. This takes a lot of time.”
According to him, the quickest way to get turnovers is for those who buy weaning ones and fatten them for four months then they make their money. He explained that when a farrow to finish is still in its weaning stage, finishers are on their second cycle.
Speaking with Daily Sun, the Managing Director, No1PigFan Limited, Mr. Femi Malomo, said farmers have realised that health conscious Nigerians are always demanding for pork because it is a good source of protein. He added that it was now important to let Nigerians know that the world has embraced pork as one of the best sources of protein because neighbouring countries are benefiting from pigs exported from Nigeria.
He explained: “We have a health movement known as Ketogenic and it’s all about diet regiment based on low carbohydrate and high fat to keep fit. We found out that these people are always looking for pork everywhere because is recommended for them as a good source of protein.
“So Nigerians are now demanding for pork and the funny thing is that they have not been able to get it as they want because some people are timid in associating with it. That is why we the elite are here today to associate with pork, to showcase pork and to let people know that it is the best meat.”
He said pork meat is the fastest and most popular meat at the moment among the educated middle class, especially those that are health conscious. He said that pig farmers are looking at a very huge industry that is capable of employing millions of Nigerians and generating foreign exchange for Nigerians.
On disease control and prevention, the farmers are optimistic that Nigerian pigs are healthy and precautions have been taken to curb that.
He said, “we take very good care of our pigs and we have engaged veterinarians that help us to take care of their health daily. We disinfect their pens, wash them, we test them in order to ensure that what we are doing here meets international standards.”
Mr. Eniola Bamgbelu of Voltron Farms Limited, said in the olden days, pigs were reared in Bush Waller but things have changed. He said statistics in 2015/2016 show that pork is taking like 36 per cent of the total protein meat consumption all over the world, followed by goat and chicken, among others.
He maintained that pigs are now refined, eat healthy and drink clean water because pork producers are now enlightened people, saying that pigs now eat what an average chicken eats and the issue of worms are now being taken care of by new genetics and new ways of rearing them.
While advising potential investors, he said, “pig farming is a full science on its own. It is not business as usual and it is no longer like the way our forefathers used to do it. People have to have a start up fund and learn the science of the business because if you don’t learn, you won’t get it right.”