1.1 Background of the Study
The low level of food production in Nigeria has been closely linked with such factors as low soil fertility level, use of unimproved crop varieties, as well as inefficiency in the use of farming resources (Olagoke, 1990; Ojo, 2003). This also applies to livestock production including piggery. Inefficiency in resource use comes from many sources like low level of education, inexperience, environmental constraints, etc. This affects productivity and waste generation in agriculture. Agricultural production can be increased either through an efficient use of traditional technology and practices, or through the introduction of a package of improved technologies like fertilizers, improved seeds and cultural practices provided that no production gains are possible through better use of the traditional practices (Arega, 2002).
In Nigeria, food production has not increased at the rate that can meet the increasing population. While food production increases at the rate of 2.5%, food demand increases at the rate of more than 3.5% due to high rate of population growth of 2.83% (FOS, 1996). Apart from Nigerian agriculture not meeting up in its food production, its greatest problem is that of inadequate animal protein in the diets of a large proportion of the population (FMAWRRD, 1988). Animal protein is essential in human nutrition because of its biological significance. Pork if produced economically, can be an invaluable source of protein, vitamins, minerals and energy for large segment of the human population especially in developing countries (Pond and Maner, 1974).
In realization of the importance of animal protein, the successive governments in Nigeria have been pursuing programmes at national, state and community levels to boost the mass production of livestock products to ensure the attainment of the FAO recommended 35g per caput of animal protein per day. Some of these programmes include: the Farm Settlement Schemes, Agricultural Development Project (ADPs), Better Life Programme, Micro-credit Scheme for Livestock and lately UNDP is supporting the establishment of Livestock Parent/Foundation stock at community level in Nigeria (Ojo, 2003).