Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 63–69 | Cite as

Production constraints of smallholder pig farms in agro-ecological zones of Mpumalanga, South Africa

  • Priscilla Munzhelele
  • James Oguttu
  • Olubunmi G. Fasanmi
  • Folorunso O. FasinaEmail author
Regular Articles


South African pig sector is a contributor to the agricultural industry. A study was conducted to identify the production constraints and compare the management practices in smallholder pig farms in Mpumalanga, South Africa. A total of 220 selected smallholder pig farmers were interviewed. Smallholder pig farming was predominated by male (64 %), age above 50 years (54 %), black Africans (98.6 %), and three quarters of the smallholder farmers were poor to just below average. Majority (80 %) have no pig husbandry training, while only 33 % received assistance from government’s Agricultural Department. In terms of stock, mixed breeds (89 %) from exotic pigs were mostly kept and majority (87 %) of the farmers kept ≤10 sows in their herds. Many farmers (75 %) engaged in risky behavior of buying auctioned-sourced boars, free-range boars, and untested boars from neighbors and relatives. Few (17 %) farmers practiced vaccination and only 10 % kept farm records. Majority of the responses on pre-weaning mortality (50 %) and post-weaning mortality (90 %) were within acceptable range of 1–10 and 1–5 % mortality rates, respectively. The lead causes of mortality were weak piglets and crushing (46 %), diarrhea (27 %), poor management knowledge (19 %), and malnutrition (16 %). Agricultural training and government incentives will facilitate improved productivity in smallholder pig farming.


Pre-weaning mortality Diseases Nutrition Smallholder pig farm 



We thank the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land Administration and Environmental Affairs for provision of access to the farmers. We are grateful to the farmers for cooperation, extension agricultural officers, animal researchers and animal health technicians for data collection through the administration of questionnaires. We thank the management of University of South Africa (Masters and Doctoral by research bursary) for funding the project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material A (DOCX 35 kb)
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Supplementary material B (DOCX 21 kb)
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Supplementary material C (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Priscilla Munzhelele
    • 1
    • 2
  • James Oguttu
    • 2
  • Olubunmi G. Fasanmi
    • 3
    • 4
  • Folorunso O. Fasina
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Nooitgedacht Research Station, Animal Research, Non-ruminant Sub-directorate, Department of Agriculture, Rural DevelopmentLand Administration and Environmental AffairsNooitgedachtSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Agriculture and Animal Health, College of Agriculture and Environmental SciencesUniversity of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary ScienceUniversity of PretoriaOnderstepoortSouth Africa
  4. 4.Department of Animal HealthFederal College of Animal Health and Production TechnologyIbadanNigeria
  5. 5.Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary ScienceUniversity of PretoriaOnderstepoortSouth Africa

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