Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Developing People and Their Pigs

Things have been hog wild around here lately and we would love to share some great news with y’all. This week we gave Masengwa, our local veterinarian, a lift to KaMfishane, where he works during the week. As we were catching up on all of the local happenings, he congratulated us on be
coming the largest pig farmer in the region. One of Masengwa’s duties is to monitor the movement of pigs in and out of the region while keeping a running census on each farm. 

Being the largest pig farmer in our very small area is not something that will make the front page of the Economist, but it has certainly been a fun and challenging lesson in how to invest in and expand projects. Over the past seven months we have expanded the pig operation more than 300%. We have more than 150 pigs on the farm and we take approximately seven pigs to the market every week. For a plant guy, this expansion in pig production has come with a steep learning curve, lots of prayer, and more than a few frustrating days. However with the help of some excellent staff here on the farm and your support, we have been able to scale-up this project into a sustainable operation that has had numerous benefits to New Life Homes. These benefits include greater income to support the children, more involvement and interest by the housemothers (as noted by their gathering around each sow that gives birth), while providing increased food security for the children we support.

As we developed the pig project and began to work with surrounding pig farmers, we realized that there was a great need to increase the amount of knowledge and sharing of information between homestead farmers and pig production experts. We recently organized a New and Emerging Pig Farmers Field Day on the farm that featured experts from all over Swaziland speaking on a wide variety of subjects such as feeding, animal health, budgeting, recording keeping, genetics, sanitation, and quality evaluation. 

e invited service providers to attend and display the goods and services offered as well as give out many freebies. Government vehicles provided transport from more than two hours away, the house mothers took care of registration and food, while our farm manager, Mthi, served as emcee. Despite a torrential rainstorm that came out of nowhere (it was the only time it rained all winter) we still had more than 75 people attend. It was a great opportunity to train and equip Swazi’s to care for their animals and generate income for their families.    

New Life Children’s Homes is becoming a hub for providing high quality products while also investing in the development of others. I hope this gets you as excited as we are here in Swaziland. The future for many of our agriculture projects is very bright and this will have a direct impact on our ability to serve the New Life Homes children and the surrounding community. We have dreams of continuing to expand and strengthen our existing production. Thank you for your prayers and financial support.

1 comment:

  1. baby pigs are so ridiculously cute!!

    glad it is going so well!