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Production constraints of smallholder pig farms in agro-ecological zones of Mpumalanga, South Africa
- Munzhelele, Priscilla, Oguttu, James, Fasanmi, Olubunmi G., Fasina, Folorunso O.
- Tropical animal health and production 2017 v.49 no.1 pp. 63-69
- Africans, agroecological zones, boars, breeds, crushing, diarrhea, farm records, farmers, farms, herds, livestock and meat industry, livestock production, malnutrition, mortality, piglets, purchasing, risk behavior, sows, vaccination, South Africa
- South African pig sector is a contributor to the agricultural industry. A study was conducted to identify the production constraints and compare the management practices in smallholder pig farms in Mpumalanga, South Africa. A total of 220 selected smallholder pig farmers were interviewed. Smallholder pig farming was predominated by male (64 %), age above 50 years (54 %), black Africans (98.6 %), and three quarters of the smallholder farmers were poor to just below average. Majority (80 %) have no pig husbandry training, while only 33 % received assistance from government’s Agricultural Department. In terms of stock, mixed breeds (89 %) from exotic pigs were mostly kept and majority (87 %) of the farmers kept ≤10 sows in their herds. Many farmers (75 %) engaged in risky behavior of buying auctioned-sourced boars, free-range boars, and untested boars from neighbors and relatives. Few (17 %) farmers practiced vaccination and only 10 % kept farm records. Majority of the responses on pre-weaning mortality (50 %) and post-weaning mortality (90 %) were within acceptable range of 1–10 and 1–5 % mortality rates, respectively. The lead causes of mortality were weak piglets and crushing (46 %), diarrhea (27 %), poor management knowledge (19 %), and malnutrition (16 %). Agricultural training and government incentives will facilitate improved productivity in smallholder pig farming.