On an average day, you can find Alphonse Sie Palm amongst 100 large, pink, noisy pigs, in one of the 13 pens on his farm. This is a successful pig breeding operation, fuelled by the 32-year-old’s business savvy and a lifetime of experience on a pig farm.
Mr. Palm raises pigs in the village of Dolo, in the Houet Province of western Burkina Faso. He grew up on his parents’ farm, where they raised traditional breeds of pigs. He left the farm to study business at university in Ouagadougou, but returned with a business plan: to introduce a new breed of pig to the area.
Mr. Palm explains: “My history with pigs goes back to my childhood. It’s a family activity that was limited to the production of the traditional breed, under extensive farming. Me, I have introduced the buildings to make the production more intensive, and also started with a new breed, ‘Large White’.”
Mr. Palm was supported by a government program on job creation, the Burkinabé Fund for Social and Economic Development. The funding enabled him to construct two buildings for intensive pig breeding. The first contains seven pens for fattening the pigs, and the second has six pens for reproduction.
Mr. Palm says some people find pigs dirty, but he loves his animals. He says, “You just have to put them in a [pen], and you will see that the pig sleeps on one side and excretes on the other side.”
He feeds his pigs maize and uses their excrement for fertilizer. At first, his family criticized this maize-based diet, but Mr. Palm insisted that the pigs needed good food to grow large. He explains: “The complete feed formulation is comprised of maize and other products. But my parents thought it was a bit extravagant to give the pigs the same food that people eat. But with time, they understood that it was required for them to grow well, and for the activity to be profitable.”
His pigs fetch a good price in the market, and quickly find buyers. Local demand is so high that he has stopped transporting the pigs to Ouagadougou and now markets them closer to home in Bobo-Dioulasso and the surrounding area.
The enterprise supports his entire family, including his mother, who provided him with the foundation to be a good pig breeder and now supports her son on the farm. She says: “It’s with this activity [pig breeding] that I was able to pay the school fees of my son. Today, he has grown up and has understood that pig production is profitable, since without it, he would not have been able to complete his studies. I help him in his project, and … with what we earn, we are able to cater to the needs of the family.”
To see the video on which this story is based, His dream to be a pig breeder, go to: http://en.agribusinesstv.info/Burkina-Faso-His-dream-to-be-a-pig-breeder_v66.html