Phenotypic characterization of pigs and their production system in Liberia.
Native pig farming is an important component of rural farming systems in Liberia but the population has recently stagnated, due to the absence of a comprehensive improvement and conservation program. A survey was conducted to measure the phenotypic morphometric parameters and production system of native and exotic pigs of Liberia. The survey was carried out in 15 Counties of Liberia and covered 545 animals from 264 farms. A pre-tested structured questionnaire, group discussion and in-depth interviews were the tools used in data collection. Phenotypic descriptors were directly measured using a measuring tape. The main pig breeds encountered were Landrace, Large White/Yorkshire and native pigs. The sampled pigs had predominantly smooth skin (91%), solid/uniform coat color pattern (80%) and straight head profile (82%). Mean adult body weight was 55.1±1.2 kg, body length 88.9±0.74 cm and chest girth 91.4±cm. The ears are prick (52%) or droopy (38%) and more pigs have long and thin snouts (74%). The pig farmers were mostly male (71%), literate (72%) and did not belong to any farmer's association and their main motivation for raising pigs is income (92%). The production system is mainly commercial (51%) and subsistence (46%) based on backyard scavenging (71%) and use of local feeds (72%).