In recent years, the GPA Global team has developed a close working relationship with Captivating International, a charity that runs a range of charity initiatives in Asia. One of our ongoing projects with Captivating is based in Qinghai Province in China, and helps poverty-stricken families build and maintain their own greenhouses, letting them raise a profit from the sale of fresh produce.
Another Captivating program we have funded is Pigs for Poverty, also based in Qinghai. This project helps families – and particularly single mothers – to set up as pig farmers, giving them the resources and skills they need to make money rearing and selling piglets. The program has been running for several years, and has already helped hundreds of families across the region.
What Pigs for Poverty offers
When taken care of properly, a healthy sow can produce two litters of piglets each year (on average 18 in total). After a month the piglets can be weaned and sold at market, raising around RMB400 ($60) each. With two sows this equates to RMB14,400 ($2,000).
Even factoring in expenses such as vaccinations, food, vet visits, and breeding costs, it is expected that a family will profit by RMB10,000 per year ($1,500). This extra income (on top of income from other work carried out through the year) will move a family above the poverty line, increasing their disposable income and helping them consume a healthier and more nutritious diet. Additionally, children are more likely to stay in school.
Families who participate are given two quality, disease-resistant sows, and the knowledge of how to save money, keep to a budget, and invest in their business. Additionally they are taught:
- How to feed their pigs to maximize growth
- How to care for a breeding sow to maximize piglet production
- How to keep their pigs disease free
- How to get the best market rate for their pigs
Running a pig business is a great way for women to increase their status and income. It removes the need for single mothers to go into the city for work, letting them stay at home in their village and work while taking care of their children.
An update from 2019
In 2019, Captivating managed to help a total of 200 families as part of Pigs for Poverty. Each family received two breeding pigs and training in pig husbandry and small business budgeting.
One single mother who benefited from the program in 2019 is 48-year-old Baiyuhua. Baiyuhua lives in a village in remote Qinghai and is solely responsible for the financial support and care of her three children. The family earns money from farming, however their annual income is largely dependent on the quality of each harvest – most farming families only earn RMB3,000-5,000 ($460-770) in a year.
With Baiyuhua’s health declining, she can no longer perform much of the heavy work that farming requires. Additionally, she has been forced to choose between sending her children to school to receive an education, and keeping them at home to work and bring in much needed income.
But having joined the Pigs for Poverty program earlier this year, things look set to change for Baiyuhua and her family. With her two breeding sows, she has the opportunity to bring in profits of RMB10,000 per year ($1,500). She is now far more optimistic about her future, and the educational prospects for her children.
"It's a good thing to know that you are helping single mothers to support pig breeding businesses,” says Baiyuhua. “I am very lucky to have your support. Although I am not good at doing business, I think I can raise pigs. It is not heavy work and I can take care of my family. Thank you!"
Click HERE to read more about Baiyuhua, and see some photos of her new breeding sows!
How you can help
If you’d like to help people like Baiyuhua support their families and send their children to school, visit the Captivating International website today and make a donation. The plan is to help another 125 families in the summer of 2020, but to do that, Captivating needs your help. A donation of just $180 equates to two breeding sows and training for one family.
Here at GPA we’re continuing to help by underwriting the 2020 program, ensuring that Captivating can continue to do their excellent work.
Author: Ivona Baxter
Published: 26 November 2019