South African pig sector is a contributor to the agricultural
industry. A study was conducted to identify the production
constraints and compare the management practices in
smallholder pig farms in Mpumalanga, South Africa. A total
of 220 selected smallholder pig farmers were interviewed.
Smallholder pig farming was predominated by male (64 %),
age above 50 years (54 %), black Africans (98.6 %), and three
quarters of the smallholder farmers were poor to just below
average. Majority (80 %) have no pig husbandry training,
while only 33 % received assistance from government’s
Agricultural Department. In terms of stock, mixed breeds
(89 %) from exotic pigs were mostly kept and majority
(87 %) of the farmers kept ≤10 sows in their herds. Many
farmers (75 %) engaged in risky behavior of buying auctioned-sourced boars, free-range boars, and untested boars
from neighbors and relatives. Few (17 %) farmers practiced
vaccination and only 10 % kept farm records. Majority of the
responses on pre-weaning mortality (50 %) and post-weaning
mortality (90 %) were within acceptable range of 1–10 and 1–
5 % mortality rates, respectively. The lead causes of mortality
were weak piglets and crushing (46 %), diarrhea (27 %), poor
management knowledge (19 %), and malnutrition (16 %).
Agricultural training and government incentives will facilitate
improved productivity in smallholder pig farming.