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Thread: Nicaraguan Pig Business

  1. #1

    Default Nicaraguan Pig Business

    Like everything else in Nicaragua pigs are a complicated business.
    It turns out you need a permit from the police to slaughter pigs. Since pigs are so frequently stolen,, I guess the police want to know where to go when one is missing.
    I don't know if anyone pays attention to this requirement or not. At least I don't have to brand them.

    Having the production part of the Chicken business figured out,, and the chickens putting on weight again, I'm moving on to pigs.

    This is a bad time to buy pigs as a pig is often purchased by a well-to-do Nicaraguan household for Christmas.
    Everyone wants to take advantage of this demand,,, even if their pigs are never going to be fat enough for Christmas.
    There is always a bit of Gringo aprovechar involved. The same piglets in La Laguna (pregnant sow,, end of December delivery) cost Dimas 800,, and I was quoted 900.
    We actually committed to the two pigs in San Andreas, and even though I found out I didn't want them,,, I felt obligated to take them since I gave my word.
    We loaded the pigs,, and gave the seller his money,, and the price oddly changed from 1080 to 1800.
    It wasn't just me,,, Krisnia heard the same price. We unloaded the squealing pigs.
    Navidad is in full swing.

    There are two pigs here,, criollo, and rasa. Among the rasa, there are several breeds.

    The pigs in San Andreas that were five months old, and were the same size as two from a rasa breeder only 45 days old, are criollo
    The breeder had some nice pigs,, and a sow as big as a cow. He keeps them in concrete block pens, and hoses them down.
    Effluent drains .... somewhere. No EPA in Nicaragua.
    Clean pigs,, but it still stinks.

    Feeding probably makes a huge difference, with the campo pigs wandering around all day trying to find a scrap to eat.
    But,, the criollo pigs cost 800 cords,, the purebreed piglets,, 2000.

    In the US a lot of people with corn to burn still buy "feeders", forty pounders, and fatten them.

    Supposedly the rasa (purebreeds) convert their feed more efficiently to meat, are leaner,, and gain weight much faster that the criollo pigs.
    The five month pigs in San Andreas should have been well over 200 pounds at five months,, but were probably 60.

    Advice is cheap, but some of it is good.
    Oscar,, the guy who owns the ag store where I do business, has a family member in the pig business and wants to help me get started.
    Undoubtedly,, he wants to sell me concentrado and other stuff,, but still,, he's become a friend, and I trust him.

    He and I have been having long discussions about making money with pigs,, and Oscar claims that you have to manage the entire enterprise to make any serious money.
    That means, your sow, your corn, your butchering and marketing of the meat.
    This is getting WAY more involved than I was hoping.
    Oscar claims that this vertical integration means another 35% of profit.

    Like this:

    "You can breed the pigs and buy the corn and get on.
    You can raise the corn and buy the pigs and get on.
    If you buy the corn and buy the pigs to feed, you haven't got a chance.
    But, if you breed the pigs and raise the corn, you'll make money." — Louis Bromfield.

    "How do I go about finding a sow?"
    Oscar puts his arm around my shoulder conspiratorially, turns me so Krisnia can't hear,, and says softly:
    "John, you need to buy an embra rasa with at least ten tetas.
    You know what tetas are, don't you?"
    I glance over at Krisnia, who only has two, and small ones at that,, and nod affirmatively.

    I think that I will probably start with a couple of criollo piglets that I can buy locally at 800 cords.
    Make my mistakes with them,,, and then move to a pair of pure breeds.

    The gilts are ready to breed at 6 months,, a cow needs two years.
    Gestation for pigs is roughly four months; cows well over double that.

    But, generally, the best cut of pork is cheaper than the cheapest cut of beef.
    And there would probably be a market for a better grade of meat than what is generally available here.
    Last edited by KeyWestPirate; 12-04-2016 at 05:19 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Nicaraguan Pig Business

    I stumbled across this post googling ways to make money with pigs.
    It's not as bad as many making making scenarios:

    "How do I make a million dollars in Aviation?
    Start with $2 million and wait a year."

    My most serious limitation is ,,, market.
    Although things have improved immensely in the ten years I've been here, there is still very limited cash in the Campo.
    So, that means that while many in the community would like to buy chickens and pork from me,, their financial situation limits them to rice and beans and tortillas.

    There are some other options, but how much work does a Gringo retiree want to do??
    Oscar and I are still good friends, but I buy my pig chow in Estelí now for 580 a quintal, instead of his 850. My next trip I'll bring down 10 blades for my weed whacker at $15, instead of the $30 he charges me.

    After the nuclear explosion last year that resulted in Shelley drawing some very distinct lines in the sand, putting my Three's Company fantasy to bed once and all,, I was forced to give up Mariposa, my purebred Landrace sow,, and Krisnia, too. I'm not sure which I miss most.

    Krisnia almost immediately became pregnant, and now has a year old baby, a thick middle and a big butt.
    Mariposa was eaten. I dont know which suffered a worse fate.

    But, as hope springs eternal,, I'm back in the pig business. I have my own boar, two gilts (pigs before they become sows),, and El Chepito, a castrated Male named after Krisnia' husband.

    I'm going to slaughter El Chepito later this month and stick him in the freezer. I've been feeding him lots of mangos, which loves; will his flesh have a mango flavor?

    Probably not, but it will be good pork.

    I have a chain link yard for the chickens now, with serpentina in top, and they love the grass, spending hours looking for the odd bug. The place looks more and more like El Modelo, but I sleep better at night. Javier chased some people who were stealing potatoes,, but I can't chain link the whole 40 acres.

    The pigs are on pasture too, and they consume a lot of green. And mangos.

    But, life moves on, or,, in Nicaragua, it more

    I have my residency which will make life simpler in some respects. Shelley and Ariana have become close friends, I feel like I've been outplayed in some odd fashion.

    But, it's beautiful right now. I think the canicula arrived early this year. It's gorgeously green, but clear, sunny, and warm. Nights are deliciously chilly, perfect for sleeping.

    The hot water is consistent, and hot. My batteries are re-charged by 9AM, and PriceSmart might have peanut butter this trip.

    Life is good.
    Last edited by KeyWestPirate; 07-05-2019 at 10:58 AM.

  3. #3
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nicaraguan Pig Business

    I just read The Famine Plot: England's Role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy, by Tim Pat Coogan. The circumstances in Ireland that led up to the Great Famine in the 1840s are not all that different from Nicaragua. And in other ways they're totally different. If I understand right, England messed up Ireland in the 1600s, leaving a land system that, by the 1800s, was a disaster waiting to happen. Landlords controlled most or all of Ireland's farmland, renting it out to tenant farmers who earned so little they couldn't afford to buy the food products they harvested, so they planted potatoes and lived off them. The land kept getting subdivided into smaller and smaller plots as families grew and needed places to live and work. There were various laws and practices that kept them poor, imposed by England, and when the potatoes rotted from blight for 5 or 6 years in a row Ireland lost at least 1/4 of its population. As colonists, England's response was, "Oh well, you're a bunch of lazy Catholic buggers anyway, good riddance; and we want your land for more mechanized large-scale agriculture anyway."

    I guess the parallel with Nicaragua is Nica tenant farmers are also too poor to buy much of what they produce, having their agriculture largely exported to the highest bidder. It looks like globalism is the new colonizer, creating imbalances between producing and consuming nations.

  4. #4
    TRN Science officer bill_bly_ca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nicaraguan Pig Business

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonh View Post
    Landlords controlled most or all of Ireland's farmland, renting it out to tenant farmers who earned so little they couldn't afford to buy the food products they harvested,
    And many of those LL never even set foot on the emerald isle to boot..
    Dude !!!.... Its a Canal !!! Can you Dig it ??

  5. #5
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nicaraguan Pig Business

    I did ok with pigs, think best money was selling piglets, but economy always so up and down you sometimes end up feeding them a long while longer than you would like. Cost of keeping boar around was hard, but you can breed pigs 2 times in a year, sell 20 piglets a yr per sow at 1k each.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

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