Pork is the most widely consumed meat in the world, followed by poultry and beef. The value of trade in pig production around the world runs into billions of dollars every year and Africa enjoys less than 5 percent of this action. Although pig farming in South Afica has not really picked up like other parts of the world. A few entrepreneurs are already enjoying the lucrative benefits of this enterprise. Despite the cultural and religious influences in parts of Africa that limit pig production and consumption, pig farming is growing across West, East, Central and Southern Africa.
Pig farming industry is developing rapidly for 4 reasons:
1. The increasing presence of foreign and local pig production consuming caused by the urbanization and economic growth. In South African, pork has overtaken mutton in consumption following the 59 percent rise in pig production;
2. Pigs multiply really fast, which means one sow with about 400$ cost can produce up to 16-36 piglets in a single year and these piglets reaching a market size of 70kg in 6-7 months can sell for up to 300$ each;
3. Pigs are highly adaptable and easy to farm: pigs eat everything humans eat and other stuff like grass, forage and feed eaten by other animals. This help farmers to reduce feeding costs and waste, and pigs also has high resistance to diseases. So pigs make great candidates for intensified or diversified agriculture suitable for a wide range of budgets;
4. Pigs yield more meat: pigs can yield up to 70 percent edible meat.
Even though it is developing fast, still some problems are facing the pig production in South Africa.
1. High feed prices, some terrains in SA are not self-sufficient in grain production resulting in feed manufacturing companies being highly dependent on imported raw materials;
2. Inadequate slaughter facilities, which has increased the cost in slaughter done in licensed premises;
3. Unorganized marketing, in SA the pig industry is not linked to supporting structure;
4. Breeding stock of inferior quality, there is no defined breeding program and pigs originated from one source and inbreeding is common, causing increased mortality and poor fertility;
5. Unserviced land, some lands in SA allocated for pig production far away from the water works area and electricity grid and the supply of water and electricity is in these lands are expensive;
6. Weak linkage among major stakeholders, there is no collaborative effort among the main stakeholder;
7. Inadequate extension service; transboundary diseases.
However, Heifer International has been helping small-scale pig farmers in South Africa enjoy the pig farming benefits by dealing with the problems. And over 12 years, several pig farmers become successful and independent. So South Africa is reaping benefits of growing pig production market even if there are challenges.