An insight into the livelihood of small-scale pig farmers in the Western Cape, South Africa

Cupido, Melissa (2020-03)

Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to gain insight into the livelihood and production characteristics of smallscale pig farmers in the Western Cape, South Africa. The objectives were to firstly compare the demographic nature of farmers across three study areas; Khayelitsha, Mamre and Malmesbury. Secondly to compare the characteristics and management practices of farmers across the three study areas. Thirdly to uncover which factors significantly impact on the production of small-scale pig farmers. The first and second objectives were obtained by means of face-to-face interviews with farmers through the use of a structured questionnaire. A focus group was organized to supplement information gathered through the questionnaire. Seventy-five farmers were interviewed of which 27 were from Khayelitsha, 26 from Mamre and 22 from Malmesbury. The third objective was obtained by means of a focus group where farmers listed, discussed and voted on factors which they believed significantly impacted their production. In order of importance these factors were; clean water, medication, proper feed, good hygiene, proper housing, knowledge, labourers (time spent with pigs), recordkeeping, research, land ownership and warmth. Data was captured by use of MS Excel and analyzed with STATISTICA version 13. When a continuous response variable was to be related to many other continuous input variables, multiple regression analysis was used. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the relationships between continuous response variables and nominal input variables. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used for completely randomized designs and for repeated measures designs, the Wilcoxon- or Friedman tests was used to test for statistical differences. Farmers were predominantly male (82.7%) and were over 40 years old (78.1%). The three main languages spoken across the three study areas were Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa. Education was relatively low with 5.6% of farmers stating that they had no formal education, 38.0% having only primary education, 52.1% having secondary education, and 4.2% stating that they had some sort of tertiary education. Farmers showed ambition for their pig farming practices as 87.8% stated that they want to expand and 42.7% stated that they farmed with pigs because they enjoyed it. Those who had been farming for over three decades sold the most pigs and most of the top producers had been farming for over a decade. Ninety-five percent of farmers stated that income was one of the reasons they farmed with pigs and 29.7% mentioned that pig farming was their main source of income; indicating that pig farming contributes financially to the livelihood of these farmers. Farmers owned a collective average of (37.4 ± 50.5), which is more than had been reported in other countries and other South African provinces. Farmers invested more money into the quality of feed given to their younger pigs. None of the top producing farmers (those who sold over 50 pigs per year) fed only by-products and waste to their suckling piglets or weaners. Overall, 66.7% and 61.6% of farmers fed commercial feed to their suckling piglets and weaners respectively. After the weaner production stage, the number of farmers who fed commercial feed declined as farmers increased the amount of by-products and waste in their pigs’ diets. Top producing farmers who sold to the informal market could adjust their feeding strategy in this manner to produce fatter slaughter pigs, which was a more desirable carcass for this market. This allowed farmers to also save on money. It is, however, dangerous as none of the farmers cooked the waste before presenting it to their pigs. The majority of the breeding sows and boars were obtained from the same area, increasing the risk of inbreeding. Poor record keeping was also observed as about half of farmers (51.4%) kept records of their pigs. Nearly a third of farmers (27.5%) did not mark their pigs for identification; this is not only illegal but also would make it near impossible to identify the source of a disease breakout should one occur. Those who invested in the biosecurity and health of their pigs sold more pigs on average per year. Those who disinfected their pens (52.02 ± 138.91) and cleaned outside their pens (46.54 ± 123.47) sold more than those who did not disinfect (20.65 ± 32.79) or clean (8.70 ± 8.29). Thirty-seven percent of farmers had never gone for trainng and results from this study indicated that there is an urgent need for workshops to be held for farmers. It is therefore recommended that regular and consistent training on the aspects of pig rearing. More information is also required on the small-scale farming sector in the Western Cape, particularly with regards to marketing and feeding. By generating more information on the small-scale pig farming sector, greater insight is established and thus there is better understanding on the challenges faced in this sector and how to combat them. Improved training programs for small-scale pig farmers can be developed. With improved planning, the direct needs of the farmers can be met, this could improve on their management aspects and thus safer, more sustainable meat can be produced for those living in informal settlements.


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