BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE
“PIG farmers in Solomon Islands are very friendly and very crazy about pigs”.
This sentiment was expressed by Taiwan Technical Mission’s (TTM) outgoing livestock specialist, Donald Wang when speaking to Island Sun on Nov 17th.
Since coming over to serve the country in August 2011, among his achievements while working at TTM was helping pig farmers sustain their families.
Recalling his early days, Wang said he found that production was quite low and a lot of farmers were complaining.
He added that this prompted him to somehow find a solution which led to a meeting with the pig farmers.
During the meeting, Wang asked them what they wanted and their answer was simple, “pig”.
He asked that they give him half a year to try to reach their target.
The local pig farmers who purchased piglets at TTM agreed and anticipated results.
Wang said that after that year they started from 400 piglets and now have almost reached 2000 pigs, a figure he says is still not enough.
He then spoke of how the purchase of piglets by pig farmers had increased and was positively impacting their families.
Wang said farmers would only order two or three piglets but now they have more farmers who are coming to purchase piglets from a ratio of one to 10.
He stressed that it makes them very happy to see that pig farmers are able to raise pigs, support their families and still have enough money left to purchase another pig.
Wang said through this, pig farmers can support their kids in school and improve their livelihoods like having water pumps or building a new house.
He also mentioned that the number of pig farmers have increased over the years.
Burns Creek which had only about 20 pig farmers is said to now have about 80 to 100 pig farmers.
Henderson was also mentioned as another common area of pig farmers.
Wang said besides these two places, there are farmers elsewhere who are raising pigs.
Apart from helping local pig farmers, Wang also provided trainings.
He said with the help of local colleagues, one of the trainings they carry out is for pig farmers with the main aim of having them understand how to raise a piglet step by step after purchasing it so it grows into a healthy pig.
Wang says he hopes that Solomon Islanders can one day take over this responsibility and help themselves in the area of pig raising, production, export and so on.