Productivity and parasitic infections of pigs kept under different management systems by smallholder farmers in Mbeya and Mbozi districts, Tanzania


An on farm experiment was carried out to assess the effects of production systems on the performance of local pigs kept by smallholder farmers. Six villages from Mbeya and Mbozi districts, Tanzania were purposely selected based on the prominent pig production systems: free range, semi- confinement and total confinement. Fifteen pig keeping households were randomly selected from each village to par- ticipate in the study. A participatory rural appraisal and struc- tured questionnaire were used for collecting information from the households on pig production and reproduction perfor- mance. In addition, a total of 180 weaner pigs, 2–3 months old, were purchased and randomly allocated to the 90 partic- ipating households. The pigs were subjected to three produc- tion systems: free range (M1), confinement with local diet (M2) and confinement with a compounded diet and anthel- mintic treatment (M3). The anthelmintic treatment (piperazine citrate) was administered at 1 g per kg body weight. Faecal and blood samples were collected at month three of the exper- iment to assess the burden of intestinal helminths and sero- prevalence of Taenia solium cysticercosis, respectively. Sows kept under free range system were reported to have smaller litter size both at farrowing and at weaning compared to those kept under confinement. The experiment showed pigs under M3 had higher (P<0.05) liveweight gains (136 g/day) com- pared to pigs in M2 (73 g/day) and M1 (68 g/day). In addition, pigs in M3 had higher body length and heart girth size with the feed to gain ratio of 8.5. Free range pigs tended to have lower faecal egg counts for most worm species compared to perma- nently confined pigs. Sero-prevalence of Taenia solium cysti- cercosis was 26 %, with village prevalence ranging from 8 to 52 %. Although pigs kept in M3 performed better than the rest, the compounded feed was too expensive for the farmers to afford. Locally available feed types combined with vitamin and mineral supplements may be a more sustainable option.


Journal Article


Confinement, Feeds, Free range, Parasites, Pigs, Taenia solium cysticercosis, Tanzania