Dr. Freddie Acosta, a Senior Lecturer of Technology and Innovation Management and an Agribusiness consultant at Strathmore Business School, recently conducted a seminar on Korean Natural Farming (KNF) with an emphasis on Pig farming. In the seminar, he pointed out that in the most recent past, pork production and consumption in the region has increased tremendously. However, local farmers have been struggling to meet the huge demand for various reasons.
As I travel around the outskirts of Nairobi and neighboring towns, I found out that farmers lack the necessary knowledge and skills to manage a profitable pig business, said Dr. Acosta in an interview. In the conventional practice, not only are the pig pens unhygienic, over-crowded, smelly and fly-infested but the animals are also fed with nutrition-deficient feeds. Further to that, animals are also injected with antibiotics which are not good for human beings, Dr. Acosta added. He also showed that common complaints of farmers are the high cost of feeds that comprised 80% of their farm inputs. One farmer in Ongata Rongai revealed that it takes him 8-9 months to grow an 80kg pig thereby making it difficult to break-even at the end of the harvest season. While another farmer from Githurai revealed that last year, 22 of his 24 pigs died because of disease. Many small-scale farmers are also exploited by traders and food processing companies due to lack of access to the market.
In the seminar, Dr. Acosta explained that in South Korea, a technology in natural farming has been formulated and fine-tuned by Mr. Han Kyu Cho for the past 40 years. He showed how natural farming practice could possibly eliminate hunger and poverty in extremely poor parts of the world and at the same time ensuring animal welfare and health safety of consumers. In fact today, KNF is widely used in more than 30 countries.
Dr. Acosta pointed out that natural farming is practiced by farmers using cheap, easily available ingredients, and microbes or mycorrhizae indigenous (IMO) to each locale or farm. Inputs and sprays are made from fermented plant juices (FPJ), fermented fruit juices (FFJ), fish amino acid (FAA) made from fish waste, lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to eliminate foul odor and flies, and oriental herb nutrient (OHN) as a natural antibiotic. There is also water-soluble calcium phosphate (CALPHOS) made from animal bones, and vinegar to increase milk of sows.
Another key to growing organic pigs is how pens are constructed using the deep bed system (DBS). In this system, pigs are able to manifest their natural behavior that reduces stress on animals, which in turn hasten their growth. The sun is also used as a natural disinfectant and source of Vitamin D.
Dr. Acosta is currently advising Kenyan farmers in the use of KNF as an alternative to the conventional practice of raising pigs. His other research is on Japanese EM Technology.
To invite him, he can be contacted through his email address email@example.com or visit him at Strathmore Business School.