The notion that pork meat is dirty and harmful for human consumption has been debunked by Pig farmers who said that such belief stems from lack of information about the nutritious benefits one derives from eating pork.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Newdawnngr, the President of Anuoluwapo Piggery Farmers Association (PFA), Oke- Aro, Ijenede Adaeze, said,” though there are enough market for the more than 3000 pigs farmers in the farm, the place could be expanded if people get enough information on benefits of pork than meat.”
She said that the market for the pork supplied by the farm, which is reputed to be the biggest in West Africa, is in the South-South (Niger Delta) parts of the South East.
“We need to do more to get Lagosians, with the biggest population in the country, to eat pork meat, which is better and more nutritious. It is the most consumed meat all over the world. I want Lagosians in particular to eat better meat in pork for the nutrients are far better than other meats.
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On the general belief that pigs are dirty, the general secretary of the farmers,Tunde Olatokun, said that pigs are very clean animal adding that they love clean water more than mud, which they swim in if there is no clean water.
“As animals that have no sweat glands, they always look for water to swim in and when there is no clean water around, they swarm in mud to cool off the sweat glands so they will not die”.
According to him, “any pork bought from this farm is first certified by the veterinary doctors of the Association before they are slaughtered in the farm to ensure their healthy condition for the benefit of the people who purchase them.”
He said further that to know their clean nature, they have separate places in their pen where they excrete, eat and bath adding that the pigs are de-wormed eight weeks before they give birth.
As for the provision of infrastructure like light light and water in the farm , these are done by the farmers who ironically pay tax to the state government for any pig sold. For now, an average of 300 pigs are sold everyday in the farm, which has an average of 3000 pens that provides direct and indirect labour of 10,000 including bricklayers, carpenters and other artisans who earn a living daily from the farm.
Each of the farmers have their own borehole since assessing water from the Adiyan or Iju Waterworks, which is a stone throw to the farm acquired by the Lagos state Government over 20 years ago for beneficiaries of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) programme.
Besides, to provide drainage services in the farm each farmer is levied N26,000 while electricity is also provided by the two cooperative societies in the farm for the pig farmers.
The pig farm president said that though, government is aware of its activities as supervisors are provided by the Lagos State government, yet more intervention in infrastructures would have expanded the farm and make it yield more revenue to the government in terms of taxes and other citizen obligations.
As for the private sector help for the ppig farmers, Olatokun said the contention of the Bank of Industry (BOI) is that it can’t grant facility to pig farmers because it has no off- takers and not organized enough adding,”they want us to get corporate organisation that will buy the pork from us directly obviously to guarantee a steady market.”
The lack of growth could also be attributed to the fact that BOI is not ready to give loans beyond N250,000, which Olatokun said is far below the required capital to sustain the business on a short period.
For now, the pig farm remains a gold mine, which if developed with required infrastructures could go a long way in removing many out of the unemployment market.