Pig Farming Up Their Tempo

There has been a tremendous increase in pig farming with more farmers showing interest after the recent introduction of a trial pig protection scheme. This has resulted in local producers now producing up to 70 percent of all pork in the Namibian market while the rest is imported mainly from South Africa.

Chairperson of the Pig Producers Association (PFA), Flip de Villiers, says the dramatic increase from just supplying 23 percent last year, is the direct result of a trial pig protection scheme. “The protection came at just the right time and it has resulted in especially small holder farmers and previously disaantaged people showing increasing interest in the industry. We now have members with just a few pigs but they are capable of producing pork for their communities and some of them have extended their supplying lines to outside their own villages to meet the demand in these areas. We have indeed made great strides in securing the Namibian pig farming industry, and the future looks bright as long as we enjoy the protection that puts us on an even footing with cheaper imports from mainly South Africa.”

Because of the ever increasing popularity of pig farming, the PFA will stage a special information session tomorrow, followed by the annual general meeting.

Guest speaker Dr Andrew Tucker will address upcoming pig farmers, while Rainer Rauch will discuss pig feeds. Andrew Reeders will bring new insight to attendants regarding the genetics of pig farming. The event will take place at the Safari Court Hotel. For more information contact Marianne Pretorius at 061 237838. De Villiers says the association is inundated with phone calls from interested people on almost a daily basis. The calls are mostly from small scale farmers interested in pig farming. “Our quality of pig meat is of the highest standard and is guaranteed hormone-free, unlike the cheap imports from other sources. We fought a long and hard battle to have such a high-quality product protected and now producers and the whole country is benefitting from this. The much-needed protection has resulted in the tremendous growth of the industry and of great importance is the expansion of the small scale farming pork industry,” says de Villiers.

The Meat Board introduced the Pig Protection Scheme at the end of 2012 on a trial basis to promote and protect local pig producers. Through the scheme, the Meat Board worked out a formula for pork prices, which fluctuates on a monthly basis. The Meat Board takes South African pig prices and adds the difference to Namibian feed and transportation costs to come up with the monthly price. The scheme further stipulates that processors or abattoirs first source a kilogramme of pork locally, before they can get a permit to import three kilogrammes from South Africa, Brazil or elsewhere.

This prompted processors to source local products increasingly, compared to the past, which in turn boosted the local market. “As a result Feed Master has been producing more feed in recent times and the bigger pig producers have started to expand,” de Villiers adds.

He says the exact growth figures will be presented at the AGM and he is confident that government will adopt the pilot scheme as an official protection mechanism for the pig industry, once it is satisfied with the progress.

Some producers were initially aggrieved by the new mechanism, since they can no longer import cheaper pork in huge quantities as before. They used to import pork for between R16.00 to R18.00 and now they have to buy this for about N$28.00 pkg.

According to de Villiers, Brazilian farmers used to dump their cheap products in South Africa, which in turn dumps them in Namibia, thus hurting local producers in the process. He also expressed the hope that tomorrow’s meeting will address all the concerns raised by producers and other interested parties.

There are about 600 pig producers in the country, while more than 500 of them are very small farmers, some even with only three to ten pigs. Pig producers can be found all over the country, but mostly in areas where there are plantations such as maize plantations from where pigs can be fed. None of the pigs or pork produced locally is exported.

Source : New Era