The majority of small-holder pig farmers in Mpumalanga had between 1- and 10-sow herds.
The main aim of this study is to evaluate the current government agricultural intervention
(supply of 10 sows and a boar) in terms of technical and economic feasibilities and ascertain
whether the small-scale pig value chain system alleviates poverty. Data were obtained
from 220 randomly selected small-holder pig farmers using a semi-structured questionnaire.
The results showed that 58% farrowed ≤ 10 piglets/born/sow/litter, 44.2% practiced no
weaning method and many fed swill and leftovers alone (41.6%). Pair-wise association
revealed that the feeding of commercial feeds had a relationship with pigs in relatively good
to very good body condition. Pigs in poor body condition were positively correlated with the
feeding of swill alone. The economic models for the 10-sow unit proved that pig farming is
unprofitable if the current management and feeding systems that operate in the commercial
industry are utilised. However, only through a combination of cooperative systems, benefits of
economies of scale, reduction of preweaning mortalities and structured government inputs
can pig production be profitable at this scale of production.