My name is Moses Ibukun Oteikwu. I hail from Benue State; precisely Otukpo Local Government Area. I double as a farmer and as a banker, but I feel my calling is to the farm. I am happily married with three kids; one boy and two girls.
How Farming Pigs Started
Mega Pigs Farm Enterprises started in 2016. I never knew I will be farming pigs. But something kept telling me that, “this business is for you”. I did not like eating pork meat and never liked pigs either. Every time I heard that voice, I waved it off. But the voice got louder over time. However, when I got a property to build my house; I got enormous space. So, I was able to set up my farm beside my house. This has made supervision very easy for me.
What do you do at Mega Pigs Farms?
We raise pure lines. Although we have some mix breeds but basically, we raise pure lines for farms that also want to start their own businesses. We deal in the three most popular breeds now in Nigeria which are; Duroc, Land race and the Large white. These pigs are usually known by their physical features and sometimes the shape of their ears. So we basically breed pigs for farmers that want to start their own business.
In addition to selling pigs, we also sell feeds and other accessories to pig farms. We sell things like tail duckers, nipple drinkers, pregnancy test kits, etc. We also mentor pig farmers on odourless pig farming
Would you consider yourself a success in Pig farming?
Success is not a destination, it’s a process and a journey. To a large extent, if I look at where we were and where we are now; I would say that we are on the right path to success. We started as novice with five animals but today at some point in time we have had over 100 pigs; we have taken pigs outside Benue State to Ibadan, to Shagamu and we have contacts everywhere, beyond Africa. So I’ll tell you that we are on the right course; although we still have a long way to go; but with the options we have; we know that every year will be better than the previous.
Basic Necessities to Start a Pig Farm
The basic necessity to start a pig farm is to ask yourself; “is this my calling?” God has designed every man on earth for a specific assignment. You cannot shine in another man’s calling. Because when it is your calling, He backs it up with equal passion. Passion is what sustains the business. So, be sure it is your calling; and when it is your calling; God will give you that passion to run it. So that when things are not so rosy, passion will keep you. Passion drives everything you see on our farm. So, passion is very key.
Then you can begin to talk about capital, because I’ve seen people who have capital, but didn’t have passion. But I’ve seen people who have passion and their passion called for partners.
Pig farming business is something you should start small; then grow it. You don’t buy all the animals you want to start with if you want to be profitable. For example, you want a hundred pigs in a year; you don’t go and buy all the hundred. You could buy 5 and when they give birth, the piglets should not be sold. So you can grow your farm. We started with a one-pen structure that could house five pigs; we started with about N500,000. Right now, we have structures that can house even 400 pigs. So, start small, but have the mindset to grow. Because the profitability in pig business is when you are big. But you must start small because it allows you to learn the rules.
Major Pitfalls to Avoid in Pig Business
Avoid Knowledge gap. Just as it is commonly said in the Bible, “My people perish for lack of knowledge”. Don’t assume you know much before you go into it. Ask questions. Thank God for the internet, information can be gotten online. The system we use is called Inoculated Deep Little System, where you don’t have to clean. The farm cleans itself.
Before I started it, I didn’t see anywhere in Nigeria where this system was being practiced. I had to research online for every information. I met some online friends and they helped with valuable information. Because I went for knowledge, I was able to avoid a lot of mistakes I would have made. So, when you have knowledge, you will know what breeds to keep.
Some people are into Pig farming, but they are not in Pig business. I mean, they are not making profit. So, don’t be one of those who are just farming pigs, be in business. I consider Pigs among those animals God has created for wealth; but the labour of a foolish man is wasted because he does not know how to get to the city. Which other animal has the capacity to give birth to fifteen offspring at a time? Pigs have that capacity, they also reproduce at least twice in a year, and still be pregnant before the year runs out. That means one female pig can give you 30 piglets in a year, and still be pregnant. A female pig can give birth up to five times in two years. I have looked round and I have not seen the animal that has that capacity.
Knowledge is key.
Also, your farm is not a zoo. Do not allow unauthorized visitors because visitors can be vectors. Just like every other animal, pigs also have their own diseases. So, make sure that entry to your farm is controlled. As the owner of the farm, you must also observe some level of bio-security so that you do not lose your investments because of carelessness.
Then, like you know, no system is totally impregnable. This is where the God factor comes in. Your business should be committed to God’s hands on a daily bases because He is the unseen eye.
Factor(s) Behind Mega Pigs’ Success
It is true that by strength shall no man prevail, but faith without works is equally dead. Everything we have achieved here within these four years has truly been God. But my eyes have not been closed also. My passion for this vision has always been fresh.
I tell people that in every 24 hours, I work with mine like 48 hours. So, the ability to manage your time, ability to keep your passion burning, ability to learn, relearn and unlearn will keep you growing in this business. There are some breeds you don’t need to keep. There are some breeds that if you have them; right now, no matter the number you have, you cannot meet the market demand.
Why waste time keeping breeds that people are not asking for? Why not channel your energy into keeping breeds that people are demanding for? The ability to know what people want and give the market what they want will give you value for your money.
Pig farming is an art and there are ways to go about it. You must know all the breeds and the features so that you do not go into a loss. If you give the market what they want, you will get value for your money.
Presently, the duroc breed is valuable, every farm wants to own a duroc. Right now, we can cash in N7 million in every 4 months just selling the duroc breed alone.
Have a strategy for growing your farm; as you are selling, keep some that will also grow your farm because the size of the farm is determined by the number of female pigs the farm has. Your female pigs are very important, don’t sell all of them no matter how juicy the offer is.
Then have a replacement plan for your female pigs. Some of them might be ageing, and because you are tempted to collect money for your piglets, you might forget to have a replacement plan for them. Before you know it, you cannot meet the demands that are coming in. So, you should have a strategy and follow your strategy.