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Samson Mbae: How Retired Teacher Found Success in Piggery after Quitting Dairy Farming

Samson Mbae is a pig farmer from Meru County.

The retired teacher who runs Pentafarm Meru CBO is among farmers who quit dairy farming and went for piggery instead.

The farm which is named after five pioneer families involved was built in 2016 using a grant that Mbae and his partners received from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Here is Mbae’s story as told by WoK.

In 2016, Mbae and five other families drafted a business proposal and approached the Ministry of Agriculture in Meru County for funding.

Impressed with their idea, the government entity gave the farmers Ksh 585,000 which they used to set up Pentafarm Metu CBO.

In an interview, Mbae noted that they started with 10 pigs – five soars and five boars – but come 2018, he had his first sale of 41 pigs.

Before venturing into piggery, he was involved in dairy farming but he switched after realising the perks of pig farming.

Compared to dairy farming, Mbae said piggery is less labour intensive, easier to manage and the cost of keeping pigs is low.

“I saw that pigs don’t require a lot of work and they need very little space. For daily farming, one needs a large space for growing feeds and keeping livestock,” he said.

A pigsty PHOTO/Oxfam

Mbae also raised issues with the fluctuating prices of milk.

“I was a dairy farmer. At that time, the milk prices dropped to a very low level and the prices of feeds concurrently increased. To that effect, our earnings were meagre and required us to go back to our pockets,” he added.

Mbae went on to note other benefits of piggery which include getting manure for his farm, also sharing an instance where he made Ksh 731,000 from selling pigs.

While the average cost of setting up a proper pigsty is about Ksh 50,000, she advised farmers to pick the right breeds for their farms.

Mbae keeps the Large White and Landrace breeds as well as the Hampshire breed which he introduced for crossbreeding.

The average production of each sow is between 10 to 15 piglets.

Pig farming in Kenya continues to gain popularity due to the increasing demand for pork across the country.

The annual consumption is over 300,000 metric tonnes, owing to a growing population, urbanization and changing dietary preferences.

According to Oxfam, if managed properly, pig farming can be a profitable business venture.

It is important to note that profitability depends on various factors such as feeding costs, veterinary services and operational expenses.

A well-structured business model and adherence to efficient farming practices are key to ensuring profitability in pig farming.