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Looking back on 2019: why are pigs in Africa not meeting growth rates in European farms?

Why do pigs in Africa sometimes struggle to reach 100kg in five months? And does this matter to the profitability of your farm?

25 December 2019, at 9:30am

Historically, slaughter weights achieved by sub-Saharan African wild pigs reared in Africa tend to be lower than the weights achieved by European breeds raised in Europe. What is perhaps surprising is that those same high-performing European breeds also do not perform as well in Africa as they do in Europe.

In this article, CEO of Pristine Integrated Farm Resource Ltd and pig farmer in Nigeria, Yemi Adesina, explores why this performance gap is observed between pig herds in Africa and Europe and whether this has a critical impact on the profitability of pig farms in Africa.

pigs in a pen

Yemi explains that we first need to understand the innate behaviour and characteristics of domestic pig breeds and their wild pig ancestors. According to Lund and Weary, “natural behaviour is the collection of different behaviours that pig have acquired and used to survive the evolutionary process. These innate behaviours are essential aspects of natural and survival behaviour”.

To raise pigs successfully and profitably, we must tailor husbandry protocol to suit the innate needs of the pig and ensure the environment is optimised for their productivity.

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