The piggery is one of the major components of the farm project along with the fruits, vegetables and chickens. The original effort to raise pigs on the mission began when we moved to our current campus six years ago with just two pigs.
With the coming of our new director, Joe Sehnert, there has been renewed interest in developing the farm as a teaching program and advancing the mission’s long term goal of sustainability. To help mentor the mission students, three University of Liberia Agriculture students work part time to impart knowledge, teach skills and improve the program.
Since the U of L Agriculture students joined the 20-member piggery team, there has been a significant drop in pig mortality rate. We have witnessed a rapid increase in the number of pigs from 17 in January 2012 to 78 pigs currently. There have also been significant improvements in farm sanitation and animal health.
Teaching the students how to bring a pig to market is a vital element of program. On a recent Saturday, the piggery team took a field trip to determine the current market price of pork and to understand the different variety and cuts of pork. We split into 4, 5-member teams and went to different markets armed with the same list of questions. The prices varied from whole pigs at $2.15/lb to $9.00/lb for plain minced pork. The teams also found sausages at $8/lb, ham at $6.40/lb and some specialty Italian ham at $27/lb. The field trip was an awesome experience. Many members of the team had never been to a grocery store, or had a slice of salami, or even been to Monrovia. It was a real learning experience. From their studies the team determined we should sell our pork for $3.25/lb.
The goal of the pig project over the next twelve months is to generate $5000 (US). We started our push on October 28, when the first two pigs were slaughtered and sold to the mission’s kitchen. The cleaned pigs weighed 90 pound each. Together they rendered 180 pounds of meat. 180 lb. of meat X $3.25 = $585 in sales for October.
The Student Leads in the piggery are Nupuwo Jogbu, James Flomo, Sylvester Bleh, and William N’guafaun. They are proud of the teams’ work and they look forward to providing high quality meat at competitive prices while learning the business of agriculture.