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Unleashing the Potential of Pig Farming: A Call to Action

Business

Libuseng Molato

A quiet revolution is taking place in the realm of agriculture. 

It’s a revolution fueled not by grand gestures or elaborate schemes but by the humble pig. Yes, you read that right – pigs are paving the way for a brighter, more prosperous future for farmers interested in piggery. 

Refiloe Mokone, a visionary pig farmer whose journey embodies the spirit of innovation and determination speaks to the eminent potential in the sector. His journey is emblematic of the resilience and determination that characterise the nation’s farming community, offering a beacon of hope and inspiration for those navigating the ever-changing landscape of agriculture.

His story is one of humble beginnings and unwavering dedication, a tale that inspires hope and ignites the flames of possibility.

“My journey started with a single piglet, a gift from my mother’s friend in 2019.”

“The same year, I started to befriend successful South African farmers, I read Farmers Weekly and I followed one farmer and learned from him. I would question how he achieved such great kilograms from one pig” Mokone shared.

He decided to fully enter in piggery farming and attended Pig Production and Pig Management courses in South Africa 

What began as a simple act of generosity soon blossomed into something extraordinary. Mokone says he nurtured that piglet with care and watched it grow into a thriving asset. 

When he ventured into selling its meat, “…the response was overwhelming.” 

The demand grew, and Mokone’s passion for pig farming soared with it.

But he didn’t stop there. 

“It was not merely the success of my newly found venture that defined my beginning and future. It was the insatiable thirst for knowledge and innovation that propelled me to explore more potential possibilities. 

“Seeking guidance from seasoned farmers and immersing myself in agricultural literature honed my skills and expanded my horizons, setting my sights on mastering the intricacies of pig farming. I grew my network and focused my direction,” he describes.

Fuelled by a desire to learn and grow, he sought guidance from experienced farmers and delved into the depths of agricultural knowledge. 

Through perseverance and dedication, he mastered the art of pig farming, specialising in the prized Camborough breed renowned for its productivity and resilience.

“My approach is specialising in the Camborough breed which is celebrated for its robust qualities and prolific breeding capabilities,”

Also known as F1, I have learned and appreciated is the best breed which is formed from land raised and large white pigs.  Due to the qualities found in the combination, camborough can produce more piglets and have mothering abilities.

He notes that through diligent study and hands-on experience, he uncovered the secrets to maximising productivity and ensuring the well-being of his livestock, setting a new standard of excellence within the industry.

Refiloe mentions that profits are good in the piggery sector, but for best results, one should master and monitor four steps; feeding, Housing, vaccination and biosecurity.

He explained that if ever one notices even a minor problem they must immediately consult a veterinarian, citing popular health challenges in pigs are mange mites which can be treated by spraying dip.

“For biosecurity, a farmer should monitor who enters a sty and if one has to enter they are forced to sanitise. Piggery is not a zoo where everyone can visit to see the pigs. Farmers need to practise proper biosecurity measures to avoid viruses” he stresses.

He points out there is an untapped market in Lesotho.

“There is still more potential in piggery because our country is the second export of pork from South Africa,” he says, revealing that South Africans can’t sell a boar to a Lesotho farmer, however, only opt for selling F1s because the country is South Africa’s desired target market.

“My journey strengthens the analogy that success in agriculture is not just about reaping profits; it’s about nurturing a vision and seeing it through with unwavering determination.”

“In pig farming, as in life, there are challenges to overcome and obstacles to navigate, but it’s those who dare to dream, who dare to take that first step into the unknown, who ultimately emerge victorious, and I am proud of where I began and where I am today,” he narrates.

Today, Mokone stands as a beacon of hope for aspiring pig farmers across the country and his story is a testament to the boundless potential of agriculture to transform lives and uplift communities. 

“Piggery is not just a business; it’s a calling, a way of life. Let us embrace it with open arms and hearts full of hope.”

Mokone advices that if one wants to venture into piggery, it is best to attend Pig management and know the basics before stepping into breeding. 

“After attending the different courses, they will understand the need to join and import their own breed direct from France.” 

“That is one move this country needs, a collective investment that will help Lesotho be independent breeders of all pig breeds and stand competition,” he says.

He further revealed that if Basotho can massively venture into piggery, that alone can unlock more opportunities including animal feed specific to pig rearing.

The moment he says Lesotho is still dependent on South Africa.

He further stressed inland shortfalls citing the unavailability of quality assurance.

“We need to have our own Bureau of Standards and a ZA-certified abattoir so we can reach the needed standards to be competitive. This will also allow local farmers to go into the formal market and feed the nation” declares Mokone.

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