• The centre produces landrace and large white exotic piglet breeds.
• Ondanga said plans are underway to introduce more duroc breeds next year to increase the number of exotic breeds available to farmers.
Pig farmers in Kakamega and the larger Western region have been encouraged to raise exotic breeds for commercial purposes.
County officer in charge of pig farming and agribusiness, Henry Ondanga, encouraged pig farmers to visit the pig multiplication centre at Bukura Agricultural Training College where they can obtain hybrid piglets.
The centre produces landrace and large white exotic piglet breeds.
Farmers can obtain hybrid piglets, which are eight weeks old, at a cost of Sh3,000 at Bukura ATC centre.
Ondanga said on Wednesday plans are underway to introduce more duroc breeds next year to increase the number of exotic breeds available to farmers. Some farmers in the county already have the duroc breed.
The county is also looking for the large black pig breed to introduce to farmers.
“We are in the process of introducing two hybrid breeds at Bukura ATC Multiplication Centre to increase more options for our pig farmers,” Ondanga added.
He said the department is aware of the need to encourage farmers to shift from indigenous breeds to exotic breeds.
At the moment, the county has more than 90,000 pigs.
The county is also planning to hold a stakeholders meeting, which will bring together butchers, pig keepers and other players in the value chain to sensitise them on available new breeds.
Ondanga said few farmers have adopted the duroc breed, but hopes more will come on board after they are sensitised and the breed introduced in the multiplication centre.
Among those who have adopted the duroc breed is a prominent farmer who owns Boresha Farm in Lunza village, Kakamega county. The farmer also raises chicken in a well-structured modern farm.
The county government is also finalising the establishment of a pig factory in Ikolomani. Once completed, the factory will process pork to other pig by-products.
Last month, farmers were trained by Pork Producers Association of Kenya's Paul Akhabele on profitable pig farming.
He said exotic pigs grow fast, have a good feed conversion rate, attain weight faster and can produce up to 20 piglets at a go.
Akhabele said pig farming can help the country attain Vision 2030 and address food security.
He said the association is working with other stakeholders to change the mindset of most Western region residents from employee to entrepreneurial.
Akhabele said lack of an organised market for pork, poor farming practices and reluctance in adopting hybrids are major setbacks among pig farmers in the region.
A research published at the Nordic Journal of African Studies titled ‘Farmer Perceptions on Indigenous Pig Farming in Kakamega’ indicated that most farmers still kept free-range pigs due to low input requirements compared to expenses that come with raising exotic breeds.
The research was conducted to find out why the local breed was still predominant among farmers despite calls to introduce better exotic breeds in Western Kenya.
The research, published in 2010, was conducted in Ikolomani and Shinyalu.
The study recommended that in order to improve pig farming in the Western region, farmers should be equipped with basic knowledge and skills, improved marketing and access to credit facilities.
The International Livestock Research Institute and the University of Nairobi are among other institutions that have researched on pig farming in Western Kenya.
ILRI researched on improved pig production and health in Western Kenya, between January 2007 and July 2009. It also researched on indigenous pig management practices in Western Kenya in 2011.
The University of Nairobi carried out a research in 2011 on opportunities for improved pig farming in Western Kenya.
Edited by A.N