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Kakamega farmer abandons sugarcane, maize for more lucrative pig keeping


Bernard Nyaramba, a Kakamega County farmer is making a profit of Sh14,000 a pig after seven months of maturity. This is after abandoning sugarcane and maize farming which he says is production intensive and finding a market for the two products is more challenging after harvesting.

Nyaramba delivers pigs for slaughter to Farmer’s Choice every month, a move that is giving him a constant income. Besides being sure of where and when to deliver the pigs when they mature, Nyaramba estimates the cost of production and the profits he is to make.

 “Western Kenya is renowned for the production of maize, sugarcane, and other crops. But these crops do not have a stable market, a fact that makes them unreliable sources of income. Investing in them does not make agribusiness sense. That is why I moved into something different-pigs,” the farmer said.

While sugarcane farmers go for more than one year without payment, their maize counterparts incur over Sh2,500 in producing one bag of 90kg, which they sell between Sh1,800 and Sh2,000.

But Nyaramba makes a net profit of Sh16,000 from each pig after seven months, the same duration required for maize production.

As a contracted farmer, he has a specific time to deliver the pigs to the Nairobi-based pork processing firm.

Upon delivery of 25 pigs, the net profit is Sh400,000, which is equivalent to a gross salary of about Sh57,150 per month for seven months.

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In order to deliver the pigs according to the contract, the farmer strictly feeds the pigs on commercial feeds, which he says, offer consistent growth because of the standard nutrients.

“I always believe in doing something unique to my neighbours. This gives me an opportunity to enjoy limited competition, therefore, ensuring a good market,” Nyaramba said.

After showing interest in selling the pigs to Farmer’s Choice, the agro-processing firm carried out an inspection to ensure he met the standards.

In controlling the spread of diseases, the animals must be raised in disease-free zones as per the livestock policy on the movement of animals.

Among other quality standards, the animals he delivers are healthy, and above 90kg live weight.

Apart from castrating the males, the farmer restricts the pigs in their sty to minimise feeding on other wastes that lower pork quality while exposing the animals to the dangers of other diseases.

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