Cameroon: Farmers find fortune in pig farming

| April 4, 2016

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Marinus Aka is a 31-year-old teacher at Regina Pacis higher technical college, and the most educated person in his family. He even teaches extra hours and classes at different schools. Though his siblings and many relatives count on him for financial and material support, his salary is not enough to meet everyone’s needs. So, in 2013, he started raising pigs.

Mr. Aka lives in Mutengene, a small village in Tiko sub-division, in the Southwest Region of Cameroon. He recalls, “When I got the teaching job in 2010, I was very excited, but I later realized that I could not save one-quarter of my monthly salary. For more than three years, things were difficult.”

Mr. Aka had no formal training in raising pigs, but he was fortunate to have observed his father raising the animals. As a child, he learned how to feed pigs with inexpensive foods. He explains, “My father used … cocoyams, plantains or banana peelings, and leftover food to feed pigs.”

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Mr. Aka Photo credit: Paul Nkwain

In 2013, a neighbour approached him to rent out his father’s piggery. That was when Mr. Aka realized that he was not taking advantage of the piggery.

Instead of renting it out, he decided to use the piggery to generate extra income. He recalls, “I tried my best and saved part of my salary, made some enquires from other pig farmers, bought two piglets, and started feeding [them].”

Seven months after a successful breeding, Mr. Aka sold a male pig for $181 US. Later, he weaned nine piglets and sold four for $45 US each. He made $363 US profit in his first year.

Mr. Aka currently has nine mature pigs and six piglets, and is now calling himself a pig farmer rather than a teacher.

Gabriel Asefor is a 22-year-old welder who is also from the village of Mutengene. Much like Mr. Aka, he started raising pigs to supplement his income. He recalls, “When I was an apprentice during the last two years, I used to help my brother’s friend feed his pigs. He traveled abroad, leaving me with a small pig. I fed it for eight months; the pig later had nine piglets.”

Because he had little experience raising pigs, Mr. Asefor lost three piglets. He also sold four of the nine animals. One of the remaining two pigs is now pregnant. He says, “I am hoping that I can wean more piglets this time. I am lucky because my younger brother is now willing to assist me in pig farming.”

Eladson Evangeline is a livestock, fisheries and animal husbandry expert in the Southwest Region of Cameroon. Mrs. Evangeline says pig farming is helping many farmers increase their income.

But she cautions pig farmers to report any unusual cases on their farm, and to make sure they vaccinate their pigs on time.

Chesi Andreas is a pig farmer from Bawkeri town in the Southwest Region, about 85 kilometres from Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon. Mr. Andreas has been keeping poultry for 14 years, and is confident that pig farming is more profitable than keeping other kinds of livestock. He says: “[I took out a loan] to raise fowl and I was making between $363US to $545 US per year. But since I started pig farming, I have never taken a loan, but I make up to $5454 US per year. Last year, I sold 200 pigs.”

Mr. Marinus is satisfied with raising pigs, and happy that his standard of living is changing for the better. He says, “It is just three years [that] I have been in this business, [but] I have moved out of the family compound and I support my siblings. In the nearest future, I will be my own boss.”