A lesson in tagging with Dr Toye

Mission of AU Watch and Farm Aphrika’s training programme: To cover the skills and knowledge gap that continues to hold back many pig farms

Breeding and growing pigs takes skill, expertise, knowledge and care. Farming pigs is unique from farming other domesticated animals. If you are thinking of going into pigs farming, it is important to remember that pigs have a greater need for shelter and that their social and dietary requirements are more complex than sheep and cattle. For your pigs to grow well, you have to spend time to take care of them properly. They need a balanced diet, shade and warmth, as well as dry, draught free, clean shelter. From time to time, they also need one-on-one care and help from the stockmen to identify and treat potential health problems, and address other social issues like stress or bullying.

Objectives of our Training Programme

Our training programme is focused on the care, knowledge, expertise, experience and commitment which an aspring entrepreneur should have before going into pig farming, or if you are already a pig farmer, the set of skills and knowledge which you develop. .

Our training programme was developed by Dr Abraham Taylor with the support of vets, pig farmers, and the Pig Farmers’ Co-operative of the Gambia. It is a world-class training that guarantees students who go through the programme a greater chance of succeeding in their own farms.

Our training programme has three objectives:

  • Firstly, we aim to promote a sustainable and profitable future for Africa’s pig producers by sharing knowledge and skills, thereby helping the pig industry to make the best possible contribution to theirvarious economies.
  • Secondly, to encourage pig farmers and employees to understand and consistently use best practices in raising animals.
  • Thirdly, to demonstrate and promote the business benefits of investing in individuals, whilst identifying needs and gaps to be addressed through training within the industry.

How Much Does it Cost?

Our core course is free to all trainees. We charge a token for our advisory and consultancy services. For more information please email [email protected].

When and Where?

The one-week course are free and run from Farm Aphrika’s ‘Knowledge Centre’ at Tanneneh-Faraba.

For Who?

Farm owners, stockpeople, including aspiring and experienced pig farmers, who wish to learn new skills and knowledge, improve their all-round knowledge of pig production.


Piggery Practice in West Africa – the Facts

We actively promote responsible piggery practices in all areas of our farming. In many places in West Africa it is quite common to see pigs, and for that matter, other types of animals freely roaming the roads and residences of the local community. These animals freely mix amongst themselves and with the local population. In the evening, animals and humans return home to sleep. It is also not uncommon for the owners of these animals to search backyards and barns for a missing swine or goat, when an animal fails to return. It is not rocket science to understand why African swine fever is so prevalent – causing immeasurable loss to small-holder farms year after year. Unfortunately, many of our governments in the region don’t care enough about pig production, and consequently do not have any plan to address the problem. Pig farmers are poorly trained or have not been trained at all. For all the benefits of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), we are not aware of any government policy in place for CPD.  The facts are that skilled, enthusiastic people are the most important part of a successful pig business.

Some of the courses our onsite Knowledge Centre offers the following training:
• The Decision to go into Piggery Farming
• Piggery as a Business
• Different types of breeds
• Housing and Infrastructure
• Feed Formulation
• Feed and Nutrition
• Handling Pigs
• Behaviour Management
• Record Keeping
• Tagging
• Moving Pigs, Loading
• Castration / Teeth Removal
• Managing Pig Health
• Bio-Security
• Swine Diseases in West Africa
• Health and Cleaning
• Technology in Agriculture
• Management and Stockmanship
• Leadership and Team Skills
• Marketing
• Pork Recipes

Our training programmes are led by a combination of pig production workshops, led by Farm Aphrika’s pig technical experts and from the allied pig industries, the universities, including field and outreach workesr from other farms.

We also run four-week ‘Stockman Programme’. The programme gives stock-people an in-depth understanding of all aspects of breeding growing and finishing pigs and the role of technology in pig farming. We charge a small fee for this programme. For more information please email [email protected].

We also run a practical two-day intensive ‘Butchery and Processing Course’, where you will learn all the hints, tips and skills of butchery that will enable you to negotiate a carcass with confidence. Under our guidance you will learn how to make the first cut, through the primal cuts and then how to cut chops, joints, bone and roll and tunnel bone. Process a pig, nose to tail on this course and turn every scrap into scrummy, tasty treats.

Course content

On our three-day introduction to pig butchery course we cover:

  • Dividing the pig into the prime cuts
  • Identifying the less well known cuts
  • Preparing a cutting list
  • Boning
  • Chopping chops
  • Rolling joints and tying butchers knots
  • Skinning
  • Chining
  • Designing sausages
  • Stuffing and linking sausages
  • Making bacon
  • Making Hams and Gammon
  • Equipment
  • Food Hygiene

We charge a small fee for this programme. For more information please email [email protected].

This is a new area of our work carried out by our Knowledge Centre. The aim of our research and innovation programme is to generate new knowledge and ideas about pig production and tackling local diseases. More information

There are number of terms unique to pig farming that you may come across during training or pig breeding and growing. We have complied some useful terms you should be aware of. 

Want to be a pig farmer or have a specific question, suggestion, or request? Please contact us. We welcome your feedback and comments.