Enterprise

It’s all smile as she strives to meet urban pork demand

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Summary

  • Mumbi is a fast-growing estate in Ruiru, Kiambu County as most land owners endeavour to turn their plots into real estates to guarantee rental income.
  • But Esther Wanjiru has resisted the urge to jump into the bandwagon and instead partitioned her quarter acre piece of land for pigs rearing farm.

Mumbi is a fast-growing estate in Ruiru, Kiambu County as most land owners endeavour to turn their plots into real estates to guarantee rental income.

But Esther Wanjiru has resisted the urge to jump into the bandwagon and instead partitioned her quarter acre piece of land for pigs rearing farm.

Using locally available materials, she has constructed two pigsties. One which measures 30 by 10 feet and also raised about two metres from the ground, hosts over 30 pigs.

A similar structure is subdivided for preparing feeds, and a part of it meant for pigs yet to give birth.

“I raised the pigsties about two metres from the ground to curb invasion of fleas and ticks,” said the farmer who started the project in 2015 with just Sh18,000 and turned it into her main source of income a year later. Initially, she relied on odd jobs to make ends meet.

Wanjiru, a mother of four s began with five pigs. The number has since grown ten fold.

“Were it not for inadequate space and high cost of feed, my farm would be bigger. The moment they mature, I sell them to be slaughtered,” she explained, adding that the venture has enabled her to educate her elder daughter up to university.

She, however laments the high cost of dairy feeds which has kept her from taking her project to the the next level. A 50kg bag of pig feed retails at Sh2,000.

To cut down on feed expenses, Wanjiru supplements her animals with leftover food.

“I visit most markets within Mumbi, Mwihoko, Githurai and Progressive, to collect remains of fresh farm produce such as vegetables, fruits and carrots, among others,” she stated, adding that she has befriended a number of traders who always contact her.

The farmer first cleans the residues thoroughly, before cooking them, animal experts insisting success in pig rearing depends on how best they are maintained in terms of feeding.

“As much commercial feed is expensive, alternatives should be well balanced in terms of diet. Pigs are mainly kept for pork, and buyers go for heavy weights,” said Morris Kamau, a vetenary.

Kamau advised farmers to be cautious on the existence of substandard feeds in the market. He urged them to vaccinate piglets and pigs against common diseases that affect them.

Wanjiru, 43, said feeds her pigs with commercial feeds once a day. Other schedules, for leftover foods and farm produce, she feeds them once or twice per day.

The level of hygiene in her pigsties is of paramount importance. Besides cleaning the pens in the morning, she also cleans the pigs. The farmer has a reliable source of piped water.

Pigs reproduce twice a year, their gestation period being 114 days. Wanjiru said her pigs give birth to between 6–12 piglets.

“In case potential farmers approach me for piglets, I sell each at a minimum price of Sh3,000. A mature pig goes for not less than Sh10,000,” she disclosed.

Her clients, mainly butchery owners, are from Kiambu, Nairobi and Murang’a. She says that she is also looking forward to having a contract with Farmers Choice Kenya, in order to supply them with pigs.