Everyone struggles to earn a living, and as fate has it, creativity and commitment wins the process.
The onset of Covid 19 was a blow to almost everybody with the business sector having been hit the hardest by the scourge.
However, this was not the case with Catherine Njoki, an agribusiness trader in Busia County, who majors in pig rearing as a source of income.
As a result of the pandemic, cross border trade was shut down to prevent Coronavirus contagion.
This negatively impacted on businesses in Busia and other border towns. “Covid 19 has been a threat to us. I saw my neighbours wallow in pain due to lack of income generating jobs and I thought of pig farming to earn a living,” said Njoki.
Prior to venturing into pigs, Njoki says she had struggled so much during the pandemic. She says a pig takes only six months to mature and had ready market.
Now she is doing well financially and does not regret having embraced pig farming.
She started off with five pigs that cost her Sh10, 000 each. “I now have over 100 pigs and a ready market at Farmers Choice Company.
Recently I sold 30 pigs to the Company at Sh25, 000 each thus pocketing a cool Sh750, 000. Pig farming is profitable if you are prepared to handle the challenges that come with the venture such as tending your pigs to reach the required market standards at minimal costs,” she noted.
“Pigs are easier to maintain as they practically feed on nearly anything including kitchen garbage, roughage, and agricultural waste, hence providing the much needed relief when it comes to feeding costs. The other advantage is that pig farming has high returns on investment (ROI) ratio,” said Njoki.
The other benefit of pig farming as narrated by Njoki is that pork has a ready market due to its tremendous demand in Kenya that is sometimes left unsatisfied.
Pork also has high fat, low water content, and enhanced energy value unlike other types of meat. It is rich in vitamins such as Riboflavin, Niacin, and Thiamin.
Njoki encourages farmers who want to engage in pig farming to do so without much ado. She advised.
“Breeds selection is the main factor one need to consider before engaging in pig farming. There are several pig breeds suitable for commercial pig farming in Kenya. These include both local and hybrid breeds. When choosing the appropriate pig breeds, go for those that are great for furrowing, as they will reproduce healthy piglets. Some of the profitable breeds in Kenya include Large White, Duroc, Landrace, Hampshire, and Yorkshires,” she advised.
Proper housing structure, market analysis and type of pig feeds are among another factor one must put in to consideration.
Through the project, Njoki has mastered the art and has acquired a special skill of producing pig feeds that she now sells to other pig farmers struggling in terms of getting feed for their animals.
From a pig farmer to a mentor, Catherine Njoki is now offering pig rearing lessons to young women out to empower themselves financially through pig farming.
With the few jobs in Kenya, she also urge women to venture into self-employment to boost their living standards.
Like they say, every business has its challenges. With pig farming, Njoki says caring for new-born piglets is usually a huge challenge for every farmer, even the experienced ones as it requires close monitoring and veterinary doctors to attend to them regularly for their healthy growth.
“Trimming piglets’ teeth is very essential to prevent them from injuring the udder as doing so may lead to infections. Piglets are born with very sharp teeth which may in turn cause pain to the mother. The mother may in turn refuse to suckle the piglets which would compromise their health,” she explained.
Njoki is now urging residents of Busia to see the potential in the county and maximize it to realize profits.
“Time has come for us women to move out of the kitchen and be our own self and economically independent,’’ she challenged women.
By Absalom Namwalo