Oke-Aro is a border community that is popular for motorcyclists and its attendant problems. Outside motorcycling, it is a passive community of petty trading like provisions, cow skin, dried fish, e.t.c. Gradually, the community opened up to a new line of business that becomes high in demand. It became named ‘piggery estate’!
It became a piggery estate where the high and mighty of the society patronise. In fact, multi-level marketers hyped on it more than other products in their hands. Now, Oke- Aro has turned to a piggery farm and market where pigs are reared, raw materials and foods are sold.
The business which started in a very small form in one shabby uncompleted building by one person is now having over thirty-five thousand pens owned by various individuals. Each pen house about 26 to 30 pigs.
Located at Ade Oshinowo, the pig farm estate, Oke-Aro is run by union- segmented in two, namely Anuoluwapo union and Ifelodun union. Speaking to the Public Relation Officer of the piggery estate, Mr Jonathan Aganga, he explained that the minimum and maximum pig that is reared and sold daily depends on the farmer or individual.
He further explained that, whenever the people patronizing them wants to make a purchase, they refer to members of the union who are in charge of regulating and controlling the transaction of the business and the farmers.
Some individuals’ rear up to 30 pigs and the cost of average pig is N480 per kilogram and that the price for each pig depends on the kilogram the pig weighs. He also said that the capital that is required in starting up the business depends on the individual but explained he started the pig farm business in 2004 with N150,000.
The PRO also emphasized on high cost of feeding. He explained that the feeds for pigs are outrageously expensive.
Speaking to one of the farmers, Mr Ajayi Samson who also commented on the high cost of foods for the pigs, he said that, some of the foods like palm kernel cake (PKC), paint grains which is gotten from the Nigerian Breweries, maize, soya beans, have increased and have been very difficult for some of them to purchase.
The beauty of the business according to him is that the more the pigs are fed, the bigger they weigh in their kilogram, which determines their price.
Fadipe Omolaja, manager of the farm he gave some of the names of the people patronizing their business. He said, “We deal with the meat mast, shop rite, also the south region, Delta State, Port Harcourt and also the local butchers”.
He also explained the process for someone that is interested in engaging in the business would follow. He said that, for a starter, the individual needs to get an allocation of space from the government, which is the Ministry of Agriculture.
Then, register through the union and belong to a cooperative in the piggery estate. He also commented about the reactions of the residents.
He said that the residents are pleased with the business because it has contributed immensely to the community as the piggery estate have over 10,000 workers and farmers which are mostly from the neighbouring communities. The business, he asserted that it has helped to reduce the rate of unemployment and poverty among the people.
“The business has made young individuals to become independent and not depending on white collar jobs,” he said.
Speaking to some of the workers, they said that the business has really helped them financially considering the level and rate of unemployment in the country, as some of these workers are paid daily, weekly and even monthly depending on the individual or farmer they are working with.
Truly, the piggery estate may have been a blessing to people of the communities, they seemed not prepare for the other side of the blessing which is the odour.
Some of the residents who spoke to New Telegraph complained that their only challenge is the odour coming from the farm because of the excretions of the pigs and the smell of the foods the pigs feed on. Though they confirmed that a day of the week is set aside for the environmental sanitation of the piggery estate, which helps in reducing the odour.
According to one the residents, who commended the peaceful coexistence among them, the business has given rise to other forms of business in the community.
The secretary of the business, Tunde Oladokun said that, though the government has been of a great help and support in the aspect of training farmers on new developments and how to rear pigs.
Nevertheless, they still need more support from the government in the areas of providing loans and grants for farmers to boost the business, also in aspects of research to find new ways, ideas and methods of rearing pigs.