An Empirical Evaluation of the Profit Prospects of Pig Farmers in Obio/Akpor Municipal Council Area of Rivers State, Nigeria

Chima U, Cosmas CE and Veronica GE

Published on: 2022-10-07



Pig; Profit; Economic; Efficiency


Ab initio, the economic climate over the swine industry in Nigeria has not been very congenial. This is informed by several religious and social prevailing factors. The North of Nigeria is predominantly Islamic where the pig and its products are forbidden. The South is largely Christian and some Christian denominations see it as a taboo dining on pig or its products. Among none religious adherents, many abhor the pig on hygiene grounds and method of production. However, the swine is valuable for its flesh which is prepared and consumed in different forms such as ham, bacon, and pork. They are also valuable for their fat (lard) used as raw material in the production of many industrial products. The pig is also the source of leather, blood and bone meal in the animal feed industry and bristles among many other industrial raw materials. Grouped according to their uses, pigs are commonly classified as either meat-type or lard-type according to the industrial raw material they supply (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed, 2012). Pigs are reared throughout the world, it provides about 40% of the global meat consumption.   Pig farms are among viable Small and medium sized profitable enterprises that can be adopted and adapted to with relative ease by small-scale farmers. Pigs in particular require limited initial investment; are prolific in nature and good feed to meat converters when compared to other livestock like the cattle. It produces meat without land degradation unlike other grazing livestock and is particularly suitable for processing. Interestingly, pig meat provides varied diet for the farmer and one of the few livestock where almost all parts of the animal may be consumed by the farmer and/or sold [1].  In the last three decades, human and livestock populations have witnessed remarkable growth.  From the 1960s, the human population has increased by 75 percent with the developing-countries having 97 percent of that estimate.  Though all categories of livestock have increases in number, a much greater increase has been observed in monogastric animals (pigs and poultry) than in ruminants. The pig and poultry populations have grown to about one-and-a-half to twice that of human population, and three to four times greater in developing countries than in developed countries [2]. As the human population grows, so is the demand for meat and other animal products. As the worlds demand for meat rises, fast-growing pig species that have efficient feed conversion rates may likely account for a significant share in the growth of the livestock subsector globally. The anticipated and present increases in pig numbers are not evenly spread though: Asia has the highest, with a gradual but steady rise in North America and Europe. In Africa, growth in pig numbers have occurred recently and more rapidly, which points to increased adoption of pig husbandry [3]. However, it must be noted that in some African nations religious and cultural biases have stalled the growth of the pig industry. In contemporary times, there have been increases in the demand for meat and meat products. This increase in demand is predicated on increases in the standard of living. Moreover, there is the issue of lags in the production and supply of red meat (beef and mutton) which is gradually been remedied by increases in the more prolific pig and poultry in some climes which some health experts see as more healthy because of the emphases on white meat which the pig and poultry supply( KITSOPANIDIS,2000). Pig is a prolific animal whose potentials have been limited and not fully harnessed in Nigeria because of social and religious factors despite evident deficiency in animal protein intake and income poverty among the livestock farmers in the country [4-5]. noted that pig’s high productivity is an advantage over other domesticated animals and therefore of higher significant economic value because it has efficient carcass yield than ruminants dressing at about 70%(cattle 52.5%, sheep and goat at 50%).   The carcass of pig is observed to have smaller bone proportion which suggests a higher percentage of edible meat. For an animal protein deficient nation like Nigeria, pig production presents a tempting alternative if the religious and social biases against it can be reasonably and equitably debated. [6,7] and corroborating the reports of [8] concurs to the existence of protein intake deficiency in Nigeria and noted that the deficiency is both in quality and quantity  and suggest  there should be a call for urgent policy action that should re-direct livestock production and reduce cases of malnutrition resulting from inadequate protein intake. It is heart warming to observe that [9] have noted that if we jettison the misconceptions (religious and social) about the pig, it can be a valuable and readily available source of animal protein in spite of its limited presence presently in our food menus. This group of researchers reported that the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) recommends a minimum daily protein intake of 65 grammes but, that of Nigeria is less than 8 grammes per person per day and far below the minimum recommendation. It is of note that the small holder pig farmers in Nigeria who are the major actors in the pig producing sector of the livestock industry are experiencing low productivity linked to establish social and religious biases, management inefficiencies, and high cost of feed stuffs, constrained marketing opportunities and limited technical efficiencies. All these have impacted supply and demand of pig meat [10]. The quantity and quality of pig and pig products produced will depend on the efficiency of the technology in use and management systems which contemporary events suggest are inadequate. The efficiency assessments of the pig producing sub-sector of the livestock industry will be predicated on the position of a firm in the production frontier.  Presently however, there are few studies on the efficiency levels of pig farms in Nigeria and their position on the production frontier. Technical efficiency especially can influence productivity and profitability in any production process. Values from technical efficiency studies in pig production will be a pointer to whether pig producers are good at resource uses despite the biases attending the production of pigs in Nigeria. Many factors may be affecting the technical efficiency of pig farmers in Rivers State that have not been properly investigated because of the evident biases towards production and consumption of pig and pig products. Addressing these factors and, backed by policy changes, may be necessary in making the enterprise competitive, productive and profitable. Pig production may have lagged behind in meeting consumption demands (not necessarily in terms of meat consumption, it is a veritable industrial raw material in various forms) in Nigeria. [11]. noted rising demand in pig’s products in some parts of Nigeria, this presents investment opportunities because, there is the prospect of good profit turnover if an enabling domestic and industrial atmosphere is developed and backed by policy alignments because the pig has many advantages over many domesticated animals in combating shortages in animal protein availability and animal based industrial raw materials. These advantages include fast growth rate that is only surpassed by carefully managed broilers, very efficient in feed utilization which implies good returns per unit of inputs applied when compared to many domesticated animals, tender and more nutritive meat in terms of protein and the B-vitamins contents than most other animals [12]. Assessing the work of Agada, Oguniyi and Omoteso revealed the neglect of the pig and pig product producing industry in Nigeria. This aversion is attributed to religion, acceptability and management problems. To reverse these production limitations, there is the need to study the efficiency levels among pig farmers in the state, the demand rate, management practices and other economic factors among several. There is the acknowledgement of a shortfall in protein intake and a need to raise animal protein production in Nigeria. The swine industry can adequately handle these considering the pedigree of the pig. Several firms can source their raw materials from the swine industry; presently, these raw materials are imported in many instances, yet the production of pig in Nigeria has remained low with limited attention, putting a level of stress on the economy as these raw materials have to be imported. We can contain the limitations on animal protein accessibility and intake and eventually leverage on it for the overall development of the national economy in line with the views of Aminu and Akhigbe-Ahonkhai [13].

Methods and Materials

The study was carried out at Obio/Akpor Local council Area of Rivers State, Nigeria, a major hub of economic activity in the state and the country at large. The study Area had a population of about 462,769 as at 2011(city population, 2011) though no new statistics has been released to that effect till date. Pig farming in the study Area is not normally distributed because of several biases to its production. In that consideration, 50 pig farms were randomly selected in the sections of the communities where they are produced using a multistage sampling technique. The first stage was purposive (deliberate choice of communities).  Five communities were mapped out for sampling because of pig rearing activities in the Areas. The second stage involved random sampling of 10 pig farms from each of the chosen communities summing up to 50 respondents. Structured questionnaire were then administered as tools of data collection. Data were analysed using the Gross Margin analysis and ordinary least square regression. Gross Margin analysis was used to estimate the farm earnings. Theoretically, Gross Margin (GM) is the total revenue (TR) less the total variable cost (TVC); GM = TR – TVC The ordinary least square regression model was adopted to investigate the effects of cost factors on the profit range and specified as


X1 = labour

X2 = feed

X3 = medication

X4 = transportation

Ui = error terms

Results And Discussion

Gross margin analysis of pig farmers in the study Area

The gross margin profile of pig farmers in the study Area of the state considered cash (paid) costs and non-cash (estimated) costs.  Returns were assessed based on the market value of the category of live pigs at the period of study. The gross margin is presented in the table below. It involved cost and sales/revenue computations as separate components.

Table 1: Gross Margin analysis of pig farmers in Obio/Akpor L. G. A of Rivers State.


Mean  price(N)

Sales value(N)

Summary of Revenue(N)

























≥ 61








Pigs droppings




Total Revenue




Total Revenue/Farm





Mean cost/farm

Total sum


Total Variable Cost(N)
























Gross Margin




Source: Echefu 2019

Generally, the result suggests that the gross margin and profit were low. It was apparent that they were in deficit if all economic and accounting principles are put into consideration. It was observed that the opportunity cost of labour and other self provided services and inputs were not incorporated by the farmers in their farm budgets which ordinarily would have given the true picture of their economic or profit status. The researchers however took these into consideration while evaluating the cost/returns structure.  It is a well known primary principle in accounting that gross margin can impact a farm’s chances of attaining breakeven and the value of profit also that can be earned beyond breakeven thus, directly impacting risk and returns. Favourable Gross margin can help any enterprise evade problems that may arise with respect to price fluctuations [14-16]. A high margin suggests efficiency and vice versa. However, farms with high profit margin may experience fewer sales.  High margin products generally have higher prices than the real costs of production. By implication, the low sales volume may be sufficient to cover all expenses.  Events suggest that despite having a very low margin, pig farms may also be experiencing low sales volume. The low patronage of pig and pig products can be seen to reflect on the result. The farmers were running into losses without knowing it because the opportunity cost of certain cost factors were ignorantly ignored. It is quite obvious that demand for the product is low and the price may not be competitive with other sources of animal protein in the study Area [17-21].

The effects of cost variables on the profit prospects of pig farmers in the study Area

In economic considerations, coefficients measure the percentage responses (it could be negative or positive responses) in a dependent variable resulting from a given percentage change in input (the independent variable) application. In the analysis below, the coefficients represent the Marginal responses of profit in the pig farms to the magnitude or value of input cost.  The responses of Profit in the farms to the cost of input application were evaluated using the ordinary least square production function. The response of Profit to the cost of inputs of labour, feed, medication and transportation is presented in table 2.

Table 2: Cost factor effects on profit prospects of pig farmers in Obio/Akpor L. G. A of Rivers State.





OLS Estimate


t- ratio





















Source: Echefu, 2019

From the table, costs linked to labour and feed produced positive responses (positive coefficients: 4.078 and 0.247) at 5% significant level though that of feed was too low and needed to be stepped up. The result suggests that an additional increase in the acquisition of labour and feed despite the attending cost will increase the profit level. However, transportation and medicals had negative coefficients (-0.304 and -0.783) respectively, suggesting that market for pigs is neither easily available nor close to the farm therefore, the live animals have to be transported to areas where there may be one, causing the farmers to incur additional production cost and reducing profit margin. This implies that transportation and medication are eating into the profit of the farmers and have to be checked.


The pig industry, the study suggest, may be experiencing low demand and patronage in the study Area in spite of its importance in bridging the gap in protein deficiency and access to other industrial raw materials. This development will impact protein intake perhaps significantly, lead to loss of job opportunities that may have resulted from its production and limited supply of industrial raw materials to industries whose production is dependent on pig products as raw materials. Furthermore, its limited production may have impacted the profit prospects of the farmers who the study reveals are running into losses because the opportunity cost of self-provided services and inputs are not considered in their farm budgets. These considerations calls for both social enlightenment and policy statements emphasizing the economic importance and nutritional values of pig and its derivatives. Outside the production of pig for human consumption (which is bedevilled by religious, cultural and social biases in the study Area), the production of pig should be encouraged as an export product to earn foreign exchange and to aid local industries whose survival may depend on derivatives of pig and pig products. A good example is the food industries (in the production of bacon and other human consumables) and the livestock industries where animal feed in some cases are components of pig and pig products and, the chemical and allied industries that depend on it for their supplies.


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