Table of Contents

1. Overview

There is much ignorance about pigs, and so we open this chapter with some basics.

  • Many people think pigs like to be in dirty pens with only mud to stand in. Pigs roll in mud to protect themselves against the sun and extreme temperatures and against parasites such as flies. It is not necessary for pigs to have mud if they have shelter and their pens are kept clean to limit the number of flies and other parasites. This wrong idea may result in the pigs becoming sick because they are kept in unhealthy conditions.
  • Pigs must always have clean, fresh water to drink. One pig needs at least 5 to 10 litres of water every day. When they are feeding young, sows need to drink more water because they have to produce milk.
  • Pigs are single-stomach animals and require two or three meals a day. Divide the food into two portions; feed the pigs half in the morning and the rest in the evening. Do not feed your pigs only once a day because once they had their fill they will only play with the rest of the food, stand in it and soil it. This food is going to waste and the pigs will be left hungry.
  • Do not only feed one vegetable (such as cabbage), because pigs need a varied diet to stay healthy. Even cutting grass (especially green grass) and feeding this in small quantities will help supplement the pigs’ diet.
  • It is important that small or weak pigs should be fed separately from the bigger ones, because these stronger pigs will eat all the food. If you have more than four adult pigs, then food should be divided into two containers, so that every animal can have a share.
  • Many pigs are pink and when kept in the sun their skins turn red and get sunburn. Pigs do not have much hair on their bodies to protect them from the cold or insulate them against heat. Pigs suffer if they get too cold or too hot and should not be kept in too cold or hot conditions. Many pigs die from pneumonia if left in the cold, wind or rain. Pigs can also die from heatstroke after being left in the sun with no shelter or water. Even if the pigs do not die, they will not be as healthy and strong as they should be.
  • Pigs must have a warm, dry sleeping area. Pigs must be able to lie in the shade out of the sun. Part of the pen must have a roof to provide enough shade for all the pigs. (Some experts advise that the whole pen be covered). If the roof is made of metal, it must be covered with grass or branches to keep it cool.
  • It is important that the floor of the pen should slope so that excess water can run off allowing the pen to stay dry. If water does collect in the pen, it is important to dig a drainage furrow or ditch, leading out of the pen.
  • Pigs always dung in the same place. Make sure that this mess is cleaned out at least twice a week, to lessen the risk of disease.
  • Food and water containers must be cleaned thoroughly at least twice a week.
Source: The Pig Care info Pak (booklet) – see heading 11


2. International business environment

China is the biggest role player, accounting for more than 50% in this sector.

The European Union (EU) is the largest exporter of pig meat in the world, followed by the United States of America. Germany and Denmark are the leading EU exporters. The sanctions and counter-sanctions imposed between them and Russia have had negative impact on their pork industry.

Find international news on - “online news and technical resource to the global swine industry” – your “portal on global pig production”.

Visit the websites of various national pork organisations e.g. USA’s National Pork Producers, European Pork Producers (EPP) and the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB)

The Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP)’s annual Baseline analyses the domestic outlook in context of what is happening globally. Find the document at  

The International Meat Secretariat

South Africa: imports and exports

  • Total imports amounted to 27 409 ton in 2017 (SAPPO, 2018)
  • Germany and Brazil remain the biggest pork exporters to South Africa (SAPPO, 2018).
  • Over the next decade (2018-2027), the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) expects the share of imports in domestic consumption to decline, reaching 7% by 2027 from 12% in 2017. Find latest import figures at