A study commissioned by the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) has established that the country mainly relies on imports for pork supplies.
The study showed that local producers only meet 25 percent of the pork demands while the rest is sourced from outside the country.
The study found out that the annual national demand for pork products is 2,417.945 tonnes valued at P41.838 million. The annual supply is estimated to be 1,758.919 tonnes valued at P11 million. The study estimated a shortfall of about 630,864 tonnes.
According to the study, pork is the world's leading choice meat and its demand will increase globally as a result of growth in per capita consumption and population. However, the study recommends that before the local producers can begin to target international markets, they still have a vast opportunity domestically because of the annual shortfall. Pig ribs are in high in demand compared with other pork products. Out of 18 pork products, ribs accounted for over 36 percent of the demand.
The study found that the wholesalers are the main market for the farmers, making 70 percent of the national demand. Retailers followed the wholesalers with 21 percent.
The structure of the market is therefore such that the wholesalers purchase produce at farm gate prices to supply to the other institutions and individuals.
According to the study, the demand from the retailers is largely for whole carcass that would be processed into various pork products. The demand from the restaurants comprised largely of pork ribs, which constituted 46 percent followed by bacon with 28 percent.
Similarly for hotels and lodges, the demand comprised largely of pork ribs and bacon. Whole carcass, pork chops and sausages are next on the list.
Almost half of the demand from wholesalers is for ribs. Bacon and polony are high on the priority list of the wholesalers.
Traders who were interviewed, were found to require fresh pork from the farmers which they package and label according to their own requirements. Additionally, most of the traders were satisfied with the quality of pork from local suppliers.
The study notes that the piggery sub-sector though still at an infancy stage, is growing and has the potential for further development.
Piggery enterprise was found to be a growing business undertaking in the country as shown by the increasing number
Most farmers were found to be focused on producing animals for slaughter. Large white breed of pigs was found to be the most commonly kept among farmers as well as being the breed of choice for institutions that were breed specific in their demand for pork products.
No farmers were found to be focused solely on breeding of animals for sale to other farmers. LEA says opportunities in the sub-sector needs to be explored further.
LEA has recommended development of the piggery sub-sector through cluster formation in view of the domestic market opportunity. The cluster formation programme should commence in the South East to take advantage of the comparative provided by the high business activity level in the area. The study says that LEA should work with the Department of Animal Production and Department of Agriculture Research to embark on research for improved pig and cheaper feed that may be produced locally to reduce feeding costs to farmers.
LEA should explore further business opportunity in breeder farmers. The farmers can be linked to provide improved quality breeder stock to the pork produces in the country.
LEA should also liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture and CEDA to ensure synergy in the provision of business development training for the farmers. In this regard, the organisations should harmonise their programmes and interventions such that areas of speciality are identified for each one of them.
LEA should also sell the idea of the creation of a pig produce to the Botswana Pig Producers Association, which can possibly link the suppliers of inputs, producers and the wholesalers. This would also have the effect of a market-based price regulating mechanism, which would alleviate the problem of lack of negotiation skills to influence the producer prices, the study says. Establishment of de-boning and pork processing facilities should be done, especially in the northern part of the country where they were found to be lacking.