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Is pork meat taking the spotlight as healthiest protein source?

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PHOTO: PETA

While many people believe that pork is fatty as other meats and protein sources, stakeholders say that the fat and oil from pork is healthy.

The online dictionary, Wikipedia says Pork is the name of the meat from domestic pigs with a general belief to be the most consumed meat worldwide.

Pig husbandry dates back to 5,000 B.C. and a 2015/2016 statistics on World Meat Consumption by Pork Checkoff, shows that a 36 per cent of pork meat is consumed followed by goat.

With a local market handling of about 70 per cent and export of life pigs to neighbouring countries of 30 per cent worth over N3 billion, the demand is increasing.

Currently, the demand for pork is rising, especially for dietary purposes and with those in the elite circle of the country who are health conscious.

There is currently a health movement known as the Ketogenic Movement that is conscious of diet regimes that involve cut in carbs and high fat to keep fit.

With all these in mind, pig farmers came together at forum with the theme, “Porkies Family Hangout’’, on Dec. 16 in Lagos to showcase the different values of pork as a way to propagate the meat’s richness in protein.

They also showed the area of value addition development to service all sectors of the economy for revenue generation.

Dr Oladapo Onodipe, General Manager, Onodipe Farms, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that to adequately develop value addition in the sector, trainings in processing was inevitable.

Onodipe said that pig processors must be trained on the different cuts to attract premium prices and that the youths would play a bigger role in this drive.

“We are currently partnering with pig farmers and other stakeholders to see beyond just rearing pigs but looking at value addition which is processing.

“We hope to create a buzz about the benefits of pork that is why we have engaged youths in pig processing trainings in the south-western part of the country.

“We teach processors the various cuts and also for youths to know these cuts which are premium and attract premium price.

`Some people want the skin, some the bacon, others the heart and so on.

“We also want youths to know that it is a low hanging tree because with about N50, 000 to N100, 000 you can start processing (soya, barbeque, pepper soup, kilishi among others) at joints and other places.

“Those in school can also delve into pig processing for additional income to sustain themselves while in school,’’ he said.

According to Mr Femi Malomo, the Managing Director, Number 1 Pig Farm Nigeria Ltd., farmers have realised that health conscious Nigerians are always demanding for pork because it is a good source of protein.

Malomo told NAN that it was now important to let Nigerians know that the world has embraced pork as one of the best source of protein because neighbouring countries are benefiting from pigs exported from Nigeria.

“Pork is a healthy source of protein, the Ketogenic people in the society are demanding for the products because it is compliant to their diet regime of the movement.

“We have been exporting about 30 per cent of life pigs to other countries in Africa and we want to encourage local processing and more awareness is important.

“Pig business is not business as usual because we have taken so many steps to ensure that we do everything right to get the right results.

“This is a N3 billion market and with deliberate steps to development, we are sure of playing a major role in the contributions to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the country,’’ said Malomo who also processes pork meat.

Mr Kola Osunsamu of Ogbeni K Farms Nigeria Ltd, who has been a poultry farmer for eight years before venturing into piggery, said he was more relaxed in his new line of business.

Osunsamu spoke about the most lucrative aspect in piggery business saying it was the finishers who buy Weaners and then fatten them for another three to four months before selling.

He said: “Although, I practice from farrow to finish, that is buying a male and two or more females and breed them they to give birth.

“The piglets will then suckle their mother for two months, after which you wean and fatten them for another four months before selling, this takes a lot of time.

“The quickest way to get turnovers is for those who buy weaners and fatten them for four months then they make their money.

“So, when a farrow to finish is still in his weaning stage, a finishers is on his second cycle.’’

On disease control and prevention, the farmers are optimistic that Nigerian pigs are healthy and precautions have been taken to curb that.

Mr Eniola Gbambello of Cotton Farms Ltd., said that before now, pigs were reared in Bush Waller but things had changed.

Gbambello told NAN that pigs were now refined, they eat and drink clean and healthy food and water because pork producers were now enlightened people.

“We take very good care of our pigs and we have engaged veterinarians that help us to take care of their health daily.

“We disinfect their pens, wash them, we do regular tests of their body samples, all these are for us to meet international standards.

“Now, pigs eat what an average chicken eats and there is no issue of worms anymore,’’ he said.

However, the farmers are of the view that the pork meat production sector of animal husbandry is one that does not enjoy attention from government interventions and subsidies as well as funds.

Some piggery stakeholders are also happy that most of the raw materials needed for pig feed production were readily available locally.

They also revealed that most poultry feed producers are already producing pig feeds as well and pig feed is a little cheaper compared to poultry feeds.

Putting all these into consideration, will it be safe to say that pork meat production and consumption will take the spotlight as it pertains to protein sourcing?


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