Improved pig production and health in Western Kenya

Published on 12 March 2010

Research Areas



Start Date: 1 May 2007 | End Date: 31 July 2009


This project explores opportunities to improve rural pig farming in western Kenya. Small-scale pig farming is popular in this region and can serve as an important source of family income. Pigs kept are of local breeds that are either tethered or allowed to scavenge for food.Among the challenges that pig farmers in western Kenya face are inadequate feed supply and poor marketing.

There are commercial feeds that farmers could use to feed their pigs but these are expensive and thus unaffordable by many farmers. Alternative feedstuffs are available locally that farmers could use as pig feeds. The challenge, therefore, is how to formulate cheaper alternative pig feeds that combine commercial and local ingredients to improve the overall performance of the animals.

Local pork butchers are the main market channels for pigs, but farmers are often exploited by these buyers. There is no system in place for farmers to accurately determine the weight of the pigs at sale and thus get better value for their pigs. The commonly used method of estimating the weight by “just looking” at the pig is highly unreliable and provides biased weight estimates.

The project is led by the University of Guelph, and work is being implemented as PhD research projects for Florence Mutua, a graduate fellow with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) who is registered at the University of Nairobi, and a student at the University of Guelph.

Specific objectives

  • Describe rural pig management practices in western Kenya and explore farmers’ beliefs, perceptions and attitudes towards rural pig keeping.
  • Develop and validate weight estimation models for pigs using length and girth body measurements.
  • Describe productivity indices for rural sows.
  • Investigate the potential sources of pig feed, seasonal effects on feeding and feeding limitations.
  • Compare the efficiency of the different pig feeding regimes (sources and frequencies) used by farmers.
  • Develop a manual for training of farmers and local livestock and health officers.
  • Assess farmer post-training uptake of knowledge on pig management, sow productivity and the pork tapeworm.

Anticipated outcomes

  • Development of a weight estimation tool
  • Capacity strengthening of local livestock extension staff
  • Knowledge on feed sources and weight performance of rural pigs
  • Baseline information on the reproductive performance of sows raised in western Kenya

Research Partners


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6 Responses to “Improved pig production and health in Western Kenya”

  1. mwesigwa robert says:

    hullo, its a nice project to look at, how i wish it would be replicated in Uganda to help its poor resource farmers

    • Tezira Lore says:

      Dear Mwesigwa Robert

      Thank you for your comment.

      In March 2011, ILRI, in collaboration with three CGIAR centres (CIAT, ICARDA and the WorldFish Center), submitted a proposal to the CGIAR Consortium Board on a planned CGIAR Research Program in line with the ongoing change process within the CGIAR.

      The research program, titled ‘More meat, milk and fish, by and for the poor’, is aimed at increasing the productivity of smallholder livestock and fish systems so as to increase availability and affordability of meat, milk and fish for poor consumers and thus contribute towards poverty reduction through increased market participation by smallholders.

      It proposes to study 8 pro-poor value chains in 7 countries, one of which is the smallholder pig production and marketing value chain in Uganda.

      Please visit where you can download the research program proposal and find out more.

      Thanks, again, for your interest in our work.

      Tezira Lore
      Communications Specialist
      ILRI Market Opportunities Theme

    • David Kalibbala says:

      Hi Robert,
      I am starting a piggery with about 30 animals already
      on site.
      But due to the high cost of feeds I am finding it difficult
      to keep them.
      Is there a way you can help me in alternative feeds?
      Thanks and regards.
      David Kalibbala

  2. mwesigwa robert says:

    Thank very much for such developments. my interest in pig production dates way back since childhood,and i am now on the verge of finishing my Msc (animal science) with emphasis in pig nutrition. I will have to look at that proposal as it brings in value chain in pig production and more so interested in the study outcome . In Uganda the marketing of pigs is absolutely rudimentary as opposed to beef.
    Thank you

  3. Dominic Simbe Ong'aro says:

    Thank you very much for the value of your research in the development of pig sub-sector in Kenya. My interest in this emanates from a need in shaping up my scholarly skills in value chain analysis and development. I am interested in knowing Kenyan circumstances( farming systems, bio-physical and social economic aspects as well as political-institutional environment and production)to help in preparation of an intensive farm business plan. Currently I am pursuing a master course at Van Hall Larenstein University at Netherlands. The assignment is towards my course’s fulfillment. Furthermore I am interested in your study outcome.
    Thank you.


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