Othaya Boys High School in Nyeri county has opened a Sh1.5 million pig breeding and resource centre where small and large-scale pig farmers can train and buy piglets at friendly prices.
The school has initiated the commercial project after meeting its school pork demand, and after comprehensive research on pig breeding, marketing and management.
“Pigs identified for the breeding purpose produce an average of 16 piglets and we will be selling served sows to local farmers, which will be a multiple benefit to them. We decided to sell pregnant pigs to help maintain the quality as well as guarantee the farmer of faster profits.
“This is to ensure that a farmer will have a herd of pigs in less than three months after buying the mother pig from our school. Pig farming is now a lucrative business,” Duncan Wachania, the agriculture teacher in-charge of the project, says.
“Pigs industry is picking up as more people go for white meat which is not readily available, unlike in the past where people shunned pork and considered it a taboo.
“The high demand has made pork very expensive and not affordable to many families and this can be addressed through training and enabling farmers get quality pigs for rearing.”
Othaya boys’ high school began the pigs rearing project with only three pigs early this year, but they have since multiplied. The learning institution has a total of 900 students.
According to the principal Dedan Muriithi, the initial plan was to have students eat one pig every two weeks, but now the school can afford to slaughter a minimum of two pigs every week.
“It has reduced the cost of meat. We no longer buy meat for our students. Income from the pigs and other farming projects is used in developments without overcharging the parents for the same. We are expanding our infrastructures to accommodate more students from next year, thus the extra income generated from pigs and other activities comes at a very opportune time,” the principal says.
Wachania says three employees who will be in-charge of the breeding centre have already undergone a pig rearing and management training.
Besides pork, the pig project also supplies biogas to the schools kitchen.
Wachania says once completed, the gas project will be used in lighting the school while the students bathrooms will be installed with boilers to heat bathing water.
The bio digester is 124 cubic metres.
The school requires two 500-litre capacity tanks to serve the students population with warm bathing water, with each boiler costing Sh2 million, according to the principal.
“In one year, we have 39 weeks for students to be in school. If the students eat a maximum of two pigs per week, they will require about 78 pigs, we already have more than enough to sustain them for a year while a good number of them are pregnant.
“We are optimistic of starting the breeding centre by end of this year. The breeding structures are nearly complete as you can see and we will be transferring some of the pigs there in a very short time to create room for newly born piglets,” Wachania adds.
He says the minimum weight of the pigs is between 120kg and 190kg and with a kilo of pork selling at Sh400, on average each pig is worth Sh48,000.
“It will be an advantage to a farmer if they bought a served pig at between Sh30, 000 and Sh40, 000, whereas the farmer is also guaranteed of a sow’s quality and bigger number of piglets to be born,” he says.
The school is specialising in large white breeds, which Wachania terms as hard and adaptive to many areas and conditions.
“Large white breeds can withstand a wide range of climate conditions. They produce more milk, have perfect maternal instincts and they are also stronger and grow bigger,” he says.