Is a 10-sow unit economically sustainable? A profitability assessment of productivity amongst small-holder pig farmers, Mpumalanga, South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 2
  • SDG 1
  • Abstract:

    The majority of small-holder pig farmers in Mpumalanga had between 1- and 10-sow herds. The main aim of this study is to evaluate the current government agricultural intervention (supply of 10 sows and a boar) in terms of technical and economic feasibilities and ascertain whether the small-scale pig value chain system alleviates poverty. Data were obtained from 220 randomly selected small-holder pig farmers using a semi-structured questionnaire. The results showed that 58% farrowed ≤ 10 piglets/born/sow/litter, 44.2% practiced no weaning method and many fed swill and leftovers alone (41.6%). Pair-wise association revealed that the feeding of commercial feeds had a relationship with pigs in relatively good to very good body condition. Pigs in poor body condition were positively correlated with the feeding of swill alone. The economic models for the 10-sow unit proved that pig farming is unprofitable if the current management and feeding systems that operate in the commercial industry are utilised. However, only through a combination of cooperative systems, benefits of economies of scale, reduction of preweaning mortalities and structured government inputs can pig production be profitable at this scale of production.