Pigs are often called swine, hog, or pig when there is no need to distinguish it from other pigs. It is a large and even-toed ungulate.
It is variously considered a subspecies of the wild boar or a distinct species. The domestic pig’s head-plus-body-length ranges from 0.9 to 1.8 m (35 to 71 in), and the adult can weigh between 50 to 350 kg (110 to 770 lb).
Its head is relatively long, pointed, and free of warts. Even-toed ungulates are generally herbivorous, but the domestic pig is an omnivore.
Domestic pigs are farmed primarily for the consumption of their meat called pork. The animal’s bones, hide, and bristles are also used in commercial products.
There is demand of pig products in the market. Pig products such as pork, bacon, sausages etc. are very popular in Ghana. Commercial pig farming in Ghana is very popular and profitable business and it is one of the worthwhile activities to engage in. The demand is very high and the market is growing rapidly. But the supply is still limited. So, there is a great opportunity for commercial pig farming in Ghana.
STARTING A PIG FARM IN GHANA
Below are some of the key factors to consider before you decide to go into the business.
Land Size and Type: Selecting a suitable land is very important for starting pig farming in Ghana. A suitable land with availability of all types of necessary facilities ensure proper growth, good health, proper marketing and maximum profit from pig farming business.
The size of land will depend on the number of pigs that you wish to farm. Generally you should:
- Select a calm and quiet place far from the residential areas to avoid pollution to neighbors.
- Ensure sufficient supply of fresh water in the farm area. A water source like lake, pond, river etc. will be effective. You can also dig a well or deep borehole to provide water for the farm.
- Consider availability of veterinary service near your farm land. The farmer usually pays for the transportation cost of the Vet officer.
- The site should be at an elevated place that cannot be flooded by rain water.
- Access to good transportation system is important to facilitate the sale of the matured ones.
- Low cost feeding elements help to reduce food cost. A fertile land can used to plant feed for the animals.
- Select land in peri-urban areas. This because land and labour are relatively cheaper than urban areas. Nonetheless, don’t set up too far from the urban centres. This to help reduce the transportation cost for buyers who buy to sell in the urban areas.
Breeds of Pigs Suitable for Ghana Market
Select proper pig breeds according to your production scale. You can select both local and hybrid pigs for commercial pig farming in Ghana. Generally Large White, Landrace, Ashanti Black, Duroc, Hampshire are very profitable pig breeds in the Ghana market.
- Landrace Pig
Landrace are white in color. Their ears droop and slant forward with its top edges nearly parallel to the bridge of a straight nose. Landrace, which are noted for their ability to farrow and raise large litters. The Landrace breed is promoted on its ability to cross well with other breeds. As well Landrace are known for their length of body, high percentage of carcass weight in the ham and loin. Landrace are prolific sows that farrow large pigs and which are exceptionally heavy milkers.
2. Ashanti Black
This is a very hardy pig breed that typically subsists by scavenging. They are more active than introduced breeds and much less susceptible to heat stroke.
They are better at scavenging and rooting and are resistant to the majority of local diseases and parasites. However, they are much more prone to put on fat than modern breeds. They also tend to grow slower, but this may be associated with their known heat resistance.
This breed of pig is also very unique in that it can digest much more fibrous matter than other pig breeds. So it can consume just about any root vegetable and plant matter.
Typically the Ashanti Black Pig produces a litter of 5 to 7 piglets and mortality is high so that there are typically 4 piglets at weaning.
Yorkshires are white in color and have erect ears. The Yorkshire breed was developed in England in the county of York. Later the name was changed to “English Large White” but it is known as Yorkshire throughout most of the rest of the world.
The Pighouse (Pigsty)
Pigs are very strong and they need sturdy living quarters. Air circulation and shade are vital. Pigs are very sensitive to temperature.
Generally, adult pigs are very sensitive to hot temperature and the piglets are affected adversely by cold temperature. So, controlled temperature can help to maximize the growth and production. Keeping the piglets with their mother in a separate house is a good idea.
The important points about the pig house are as follows:
- The floor of the house must be 3 X 3 m.
- The floor of the house must be raised about 60 cm above the ground.
- The floor boards should have spaces of 2 cm between them.
- The roof must be rain proof.
- The high side of the roof should face in a direction where some sun can shine a little way into the house on this side: but there must always be shade in some part of the house.
- The house must be strongly built.
A pigsty can be constructed cheaply by using locally available materials. It needs to be constructed according to climatic conditions and according to the pig production system.
- The pigsty should be comfortable for the pigs: good ventilation and ample shade, no overheating, no smells, no draft and no dampness.
- The building should be constructed with its length axis in an East-West direction (protected from sun and rain).
- The pig building needs to be divided into different pens for each phase of the production cycle. The number and the size of the pens depend on the expected numbers of pigs to be housed in each production phase.
- The costs of constructing the pigsty should fit the pig production systems. An efficient pig production is required to cover high construction costs.
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