There are mainly four pig breeds that are kept by Ugandan farmers. These are the large white, camborough, landrace, Yorkshire and of course local breeds. But a survey across pig farms indicates that the large white is one of the most kept breeds.
The large white is a British breed of domestic pigs. It derives from the old Yorkshire breed from Yorkshire in northern England.
It is widely used for cross-breeding for intensive pig farmers around the world because it is good breed. In Uganda, it is mainly cross-bred with the landrace and the camborough to create offsprings that are both good mothers and good porkers.
Pierre Maniraguha, a theologian from Namasuba-Kikajo off Entebbe Road in Wakiso rears the large white pig on his farm.
“I had a dream for pig keeping for 18 years, but had no capital. Later, I met a friend who inspired me further and helped with capital that I used to start this project,” he says.
Maniraguha started pig rearing in 2020 because of COVID-19 after discovering that farming is a business that generates money even in difficult situations, for example, the lockdown.
“Farming is the only business that could not be stopped because people need food,” he says.
Maniraguha started with nine piglets which have multiplied to 30 mature pigs and 18 piglets. He started on half-an-acre of land, but has expanded his farm to one acre.
“A good shelter for pigs is important because they need shade for heat control and weight gain. A clean pigsty prevents them from diseases, stress and they have to live in a clean environment for better production results,” Maniraguha says.
“Large white pigs give birth 2-3 times in a year and the more it gives birth, the bigger it becomes. A one-month piglet can be sold at sh150,000 and a mature one at sh1.3m because it is quite large,” he says. Some grow to as many as 250kg.
“My target is to grow the farm to at least 1,000 pigs and this is when I will start selling them off constantly. There is no specific market for pigs. It depends on the breed, size of the animal and the area one is rearing from,” Maniraguha says.
Feed them well
“It is important to treat them like humans in as far as feeds are concerned. Give them nutritious feeds because this helps them grow faster and purposefully. Give them water all the time too,” he says. Good feeds constitute at least 45% of production costs in pigs.
Maniraguha mixes many types of feed raw materials. These include broken maize, cotton and fish to enhance their body size and salt, which helps in making them thirsty to drink water which is good for body growth.
“You can plant their feeds on your farm to reduce costs. These include maize, yams, bananas and many others. However, leftovers are not good for them because they can easily get acidic,” he says.
Challenges in pig keeping
“Feeds and water are expensive and sometimes the supply of raw materials is not good enough,” Maniraguha says. He mitigates this by mixing his own feeds.
He employs two workers at the farm, who he pays sh200,000 each per month. However, getting good workers is a challenge.
“The veterinary doctors who treat his pigs are not readily available and some charge highly,” he adds.
Diseases like African swine fever are one of the biggest challenges too. He prevents this by emphasising proper bio-security practices.