Pig farming

  •  November 19, 2022
  • By: Evan MacAlpine
A man tends to pigs in a concrete pig pen.
Funding required: $94,850

Beneficiaries: 780 families from six Compassion centres

Completion date: December 2025

Country: Rwanda

Executive summary

Agriculture is the backbone of Rwanda’s economy, with nearly 90 per cent of rural households practising small-scale farming. And yet, one in three children experience stunting due to food insecurity because their families are in financial distress, unable to produce or purchase adequate food. Rural families face enormous stress due to a steady increase in the rural population and a dramatic decrease in farm size to less than one acre per family. Compassion-assisted households are vulnerable to any shock faced in crop production—drought, landslides, pests and diseases, land degradation, soil erosion, infertile soil and poor crop yield. Increasingly low agricultural output contributes to poverty and food insecurity for marginalized, agrarian families.

But diversifying farming activities can make a big difference for families in reducing vulnerability and strengthening income and food security. Pig farming interventions have found tremendous success in improving the living conditions of beneficiary households at other church partners across Rwanda. Training caregivers in modern pig farming and providing them with a start-up piglet has proven to be a sustainable way to boost family income.

This intervention will help change the lives of 780 boys and girls from six local churches in Rwanda by distributing piglets to impoverished families. Your generous investment will help families overcome obstacles like low agricultural yield, food insecurity, low-income levels and malnutrition. Before receiving their own piglet, caregivers will participate in hands-on training to learn about raising pigs and managing manure so their pig farm ventures become a viable, sustainable source of income. Household security will be strengthened as caregivers sell piglets to other farmers, sell mature pigs for meat and apply rich, organic pig manure to enhance crop production. As the pigs produce offspring, each household will give a piglet to another beneficiary family. This giving cycle will then extend to include church and community members so churches can help eliminate poverty throughout their entire communities.

Did you know?

Pigs are the most prolific large mammals in Rwanda because they multiply quickly and produce four to eight piglets each time. Pigs can eat almost anything (including food scraps) and are a great source of income through the sale of piglets and pork. A healthy piglet can sell for about $58 at six months old.

Summary

Background

According to the World Food Programme, 38 per cent of Rwandans live below the poverty line. This is most evident in rural regions where many families live in absolute poverty without reliable access to food, clothing, water and shelter. Absolute poverty adversely affects child, family and community development and is passed from one generation to the next.

UNICEF states that poverty has far-reaching effects on a child’s ability to learn, build relationships and make a positive transition to adulthood. The consequences of inadequate nutrition, exposure to chronic stress and lack of early stimulation and learning can last a lifetime, robbing them of a hope-filled future.

Many of Compassion’s church partners have already organized beneficiary caregivers into savings groups of 15 to 25 people to pool their resources and expertise to create solutions for the challenges they face. However, despite the success of these savings groups, our partners know they have not yet reached their full potential since they lack quality manure, which is crucial to boosting crop yields and providing stable income. Providing caregivers of Compassion-supported children with sustainable and manageable sources of income is one of the many ways Compassion Rwanda is working to achieve its mission of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

The need

The majority of Rwanda’s rural population is engaged in subsistence farming, yet the average farm is less than 0.6 hectares. Persistent land shortage coupled with land degradation across the country calls for diversification of rural income opportunities to alleviate poverty and food insecurity. This intervention seeks to reduce extreme household poverty and increase earning potential by equipping caregivers to start their own pig farming practices.

Your investment will give 780 caregivers across six different Compassion centres a piglet training in modern pig farming so they can earn a daily income above the poverty line, increase crop output yield with the organic pig manure and collaborate with other caregivers through credit and savings associations. Local church leaders will work with government veterinary officials to implement this intervention. A local veterinarian will conduct blood samples and weigh the animals to ensure they are healthy. In a pass-on system, families will give their first-born piglet to another beneficiary family in need, and then to other families in the community. In this way, more households will benefit from this intervention. Children benefit greatly when their caregivers are empowered with income-generating activities to meet their children’s basic needs. When children’s needs are taken care of, they have the energy and freedom to pursue their dreams—to live life to the full, embrace opportunities, build strong relationships and become change-makers in their communities.

What your gift will do

Your gift will establish pig farming ventures for 780 beneficiary families from six church partners in Rwanda:

  • Beneficiary mobilization and training
  • 780 male and female piglets (121 female and 9 male piglets = 130 piglets per church)
  • Construction of pig shelters
  • Professional consultation
  • Veterinary care
  • Labour
  • Follow-up and reporting

Logistics

  • Local contribution:US$22,927.38
  • Handling of funds: Compassion Rwanda will ensure this intervention remains within budget.
  • Monitoring and follow-up: Church partners, contracted pig-farming trainers and government veterinary officials will provide oversight to ensure families are caring for their pigs well and that children are directly benefiting from increased family income and more food.