After incurring losses when his dairy and poultry farming projects collapsed, Wilson Ashimosi decided to try his luck on pigs.
He says he found comfort in pigs after losing 500 birds in a span of just two days, yet he had invested in the business for about 10 years.
Ashimosi, who retired as a provincial information officer in 2002, is now a household name in pig rearing in Mukumu, Kakamega County. He has 100 pigs in his home and says the project keeps him busy after his retirement.
Because of the quality of his pigs, Ashimosi won a contract by the World Bank in a community empowerment project early last year.
The World Bank identified 20 groups in Ikolomani and Shinyalu sub-counties and gave members two pigs each from Ashimosi’s farm. The World Bank is also putting up a slaughterhouse in the area for Shitoli Group at a cost of Sh7.1 million where pork will be processed.
Ashimoli will be the main supplier of pigs to the abattoir when it starts operating by the end of next month.
Western agriculture field officer Joseph Kimani says the pig breeds from Ashimosi’s farm are better than those from others in the area.
“The structure of his pen, hygiene, management and genetic types of pigs are good and that is why we recommended him to the World Bank,” says Kimani.
Ashimosi hopes to double the number of pigs at his farm soon after the factory starts operating. He advises locals to venture into pig farming since there will be ready market.
Farmers’ Choice management also uses Ashimosi’s farm for field studies. Ashimosi sells his pigs for between Sh34,000 and Sh40,000 depending on weight.
“Small piglets aged two-three months go for Sh5,000 each,” he says.
His biggest challenge is getting the right feed for the pigs.
“I have to ensure my pigs get the right food, which means I sometimes have to travel far to get the food,” he says.
One of the groups’ members from Shimanyiro, Phyllis Lumiti, says the pig project has assisted the community as members have a steady source of income.
“Some women pay school fees by selling the pigs they were given by the World Bank,” says Mrs Lumiti.
Ashimosi says he opted for pigs because they are stress-free and need only enough food and water for survival.
“I decided to keep pigs because it is rare for them to get sick and when they are about eight to nine months old, I sell them when they are weighing between 75 and 95kg,” he says.
“Pigs are unlike dairy animals, which need a lot of attention and consume a lot of time.”
The animals are kept differently according to their sizes and age. Ashimosi sells them to Famer’s Choice in Nakuru and local butcheries.