“Now I don’t need to take out loans at interest anymore. I don’t have to worry much about whether our money is for my children’s education or farming, I can earn money from pig farming. At the moment, I still have some pigs that are ready to sell, and whether it’s selling or keeping them on the farm for more breeding purposes, I can do whatever I want. And I won’t quit my farming in the future, but I do have the plan to expand pig raising commercially,” U Zaw Win said about his future business plan.
U Zaw Win lives in Khin Aye village, in the Pauk township, with six family members. He owns a small parcel of land to farm rice, but this does not produce enough to feed his family for the whole year. Even with the extra seasonal work of chopping wood, harvesting bamboo, making charcoal, and weaving bamboo mats, the money he earns is still only about $750 annually and does not cover living expenses for his family, let alone pay the interest for his agriculture loan every year.
U Zaw Win decided to go to China as a migrant worker, hoping to provide a better living for his family. While he was in China, he worked very hard in animal husbandry, but the wage was not enough to make the work away from home worthwhile, so he returned to his village and continued rice farming.
Soon after returning home, U Zaw Win was elected to be a member of the development committee by the village community and actively participated in a partnership with Shanta. Meanwhile, he observed and learned about the success of pig farming in the nearby village of Ohn Min. In 2021, he took the initiative and started pig farming with five other farmers.
With detailed training and support from Shanta Foundation, U Zaw Win led other farmers in the construction of pig pens and building wastewater ponds to reduce odor. He also visited OISCA Myanmar (Agriculture and Rural Development Training Center) and purchased premium-quality pigs to breed. He also leads the pig medical committee, organizes deworming sessions, monthly vaccinations, and provides care for injured pigs and cattle in the village that are not associated with the Shanta project.
The next spring, his sow gave birth to a total of ten piglets. He sold a total of seven pigs and the income received was about $800. He was very excited about this increase in his annual salary!
Due to the current political situation, Shanta staff are not able to visit some villages safely, so U Zaw Win leads basic pig farming training as well as farmer records-keeping lessons to record all the income and expenses. He visits the other pig farmers during the farrowing period of their sows, assisting them both day and night. He also helped the other pig farmers with the selling process for both piglets and fattening pigs.
U Zaw Win, who previously only worked in traditional farming and had to go to other countries as a migrant worker, now has financial security through his own pig farming business with plans to gradually become a commercial pig farmer.
“I invested my pig farm revenues in our family’s healthcare, made investments in farming, bought rice for our food storage, and bought premium pig food. In addition to raising a male pig to produce high-quality piglets to sell in the market, I’m aiming to extend my pig farms with five breeding pigs and five fattening pigs,” U Zaw Win said in his conclusion.