INDONESIA - Results of a survey of pig farming in the east of the country reveal a need for better education of farmers, particularly on pig disease and biosecurity.
A new survey of smallholder pig farmers across eastern Indonesia reveals that pigs are mainly kept as a secondary income source, with the majority of farmers slaughtering at their own premises for household meat consumption.
Most of the pigs are kept in pens or tethered, while some roam free in the village. Farmers have limited access to animal health facilities and biosecurity is minimal, the researchers found.
First-named author, Edwina E.C. Leslie, and co-authors report that pig farming is a common practice among smallholder farmers in Nusa Tenggara Timur province (NTT) in eastern Indonesia.
To understand the production systems there, they conducted a survey of smallholder pig farmers was conducted. Eighteen villages were randomly selected across West Timor, Flores and Sumba islands, and 289 pig farmers were interviewed.
Information on pig management, biosecurity practices, pig movements and knowledge of pig health and disease, specifically classical swine fever was collected.
The mean number of pigs per herd was 5.0 (not including piglets), and total marketable herd size (pigs aged two months of age or more) did not differ significantly between islands.
Chickens (71 per cent) and dogs (62 per cent) were the most commonly kept animal species in addition to pigs.
Pigs were mainly kept as a secondary income source (69 per cent) and 83 per cent of farmers owned at least one sow.
Seventy-four per cent of pigs were housed in a kandang (small bamboo pen) and 25 per cent were tethered.
Pig feeds were primarily locally sourced agricultural products (93 per cent).
The majority of farmers had no knowledge of classical swine fever (91 per cent) and biosecurity practices were minimal. Forty-five per cent reported to consuming a pig when it died and 74 per cent failed to report cases of sick or dead pigs to appropriate authorities. Sixty-five per cent of farmers reported that a veterinarian or animal health worker had never visited their village.
Backyard slaughter was common practice (55 per cent), with meat mainly used for home consumption (89 per cent). Most farmers (73 per cent) purchased pigs in order to raise the animal on their farm with 36 per cent purchasing at least one pig within the last year.
Predominantly fattening pigs (34 per cent) were given as gifts for celebratory events, most commonly for funerals (32 per cent), traditional ceremonies (27 per cent) and marriages (10 per cent).
For improved productivity of this traditional low-input system, research incorporating farming training and improved knowledge on pig disease and biosecurity needs to be integrated with greater access to extension services, Leslie and co-authors recommended.
A description of smallholder pig production systems in eastern Indonesia was written by E.E.C. Leslie, M. Geong, M. Abdurrahman, M.P. Ward and J-A.L.M.L. Toribio and published in Preventive Veterinary Medicine in March 2015.
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