Rebuilding Haiti must start from the ground up, with agricultural education
Well somebody needs to start a discussion about pigs in Haiti. They are historically one of the most important livestock in the country. No discussion would be complete without a look at the recent history of pigs in Haiti:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Creole Pig was a breed of pig indigenous to the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Creole pigs were well adapted to the rugged terrain and sparse vegetation of Haiti. The pig’s resilience allowed Haitian peasants to raise these pigs with little resources. The peasants characterized their pigs as never getting sick.
Creole pigs served as a type of savings account for the Haitian peasant: They were sold or slaughtered to pay for marriages, medical emergencies, schooling, seeds for crops, or a vodou ceremony. The resillience and boisterous nature of the pigs, as well as their incorporation into vodou folklore and the oral history of the Haitian revolution, made them a symbol for the independence and personality of the Haitian people.
Creole pigs were well adapted to local conditions, such as available feed and conditions needed for their management as livestock and were popular with the Haitian peasant farmers. However, they were almost all killed off in the 1970s and 1980s, ostensibly in order to prevent the spread of African swine fever virus, which had spread from Spain to the Dominican Republic and then to Haiti via the Artibonite River. According to the United States, by 1982 African swine fever had infected almost one-third of Haiti's creole pig population. Concerned about the spread of the disease into the US and its potential effects on agriculture, the US put political pressure on the Haitian government to slaughter all the pigs in their country.
This reasoning was subsequently questioned by the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, as well as numerous academic reports, including a report published in a 1990 edition of "Stretch". The eradication of the creole pig had gone further to impoverish the already struggling peasants. It forced many children to quit school. Small farmers were forced to mortgage their land. Many Haitians cut down trees for cash income from charcoal. This contributed to the desertification of the Haitian landscape, already begun by overpopulation.
In the Haitian peasant community, the government's eradication and repopulation program was highly criticized. The peasants protested that they were not fairly compensated for their pigs and that the breed of pigs imported from the United States to replace the hardy creole pigs was unsuitable for the Haitian environment and economy.
The new breed of pigs imported from the US, common to large farms in the American Midwest, was characterized as "better" than the creole pig. Unfortunately, they required clean drinking water which is unavailable to 80% of the Haitian population, imported feed (costing $90 a year when the per capita income was about $130), vaccination, and special roofed pigpens. There is controversy over whether the importation of these pigs was encouraged by US agribusiness, as the raising of these pigs was so heavily dependent on imported products. Haitian peasants quickly named the pigs "prince à quatre pieds," (four-footed princes). The repopulation program was a complete failure.
In recent years, Haitian and French agronomists have bred a new variety of pig with the same beneficial qualities as Haiti's Creole pig. An effort to repopulate Haiti with these pigs is underway..
1. Grassroots International
So the pig is back in Haiti. As livestock feed is a challenge, especially for pigs, who are monogastric (single stomached) and basically eat the same foods as humans, we need to find alternative feeds that can be produced in Haiti.
A great source of research information is Livestock Research and Rural Development.
Their articles can be searched at: CIPAV, Livestock Research for Rural Development
Other sources include:
Research Cooperation For Livestock-Based Sustainable Farming Systems In The Lower Mekong Basin
The Information Center about Pig Production in Developing Countries:
I am eagerly awaiting a copy of:
Some alternative pig feeds include: conventional crop leaves, fodder legumes, sugar cane products, water plants, tree and shrub leaves, and palm products.
Be aware that some of these items may need special processing before feeding to pigs to reduce toxic or anti-nutritional components. There may be limits to the amount that should be fed. Do your homework before experimenting.
Conventional crop leaves include:
pwa enkoni, cowpea, Vigna unguiculata
taro Alocasia and Colocasia (Chou Karayib)
new cocoyam malanga Xanthosoma sagittifolium
stylo Stylosanthes guianensis
Sugar cane products include: chopped sugar cane and cane juice
Water plants include:
Tree and shrub leaves include:
cassava manyok, Manihot esculenta;
nacedero, Trichanthera gigantea;
hibiscus, chou blok, Hibiscus rosasinensis;
mulberry Morus alba
Acacia auriculiformis, Acacia mangium;
jackfruit, jaquier, Artocarpus heterophyllus;
cashew, pom kajou, Anacardium occidentalis;
banana, fig, plantain, bannan, Musa
Palm products include:
sugar juice from sugar palm Borassus flabillefer
palm kernel and oil from oil palm Elaeis guineensis
seeds/nuts, heart of palm peelings from peach palm pejibaye Bactris gasipaes
As you can see there a wide range of alternative and underutilized crops that can be fed to pigs.
HAITIAN PIG PRODUCTION
What do Haitians feed their pigs? Do they feed their pigs or do pigs just find what they can?
In addition to meat, pigs produce manure which can be used to make biogas for cooking. Another alternative to wood and charcoal! Simple biogas digesters can be made from a double layer of large tubular plastic sheeting.See:
Tubular plastic sheet and other small scale designs: