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Pig Keeper Samten Dondrup’s Entrepreneurial Road

2024-04-17 16:05:00China Tibet Online

Flourishing local industries boost rural revitalization. A young Tibetan man, born in the 1990s, returned home to start a business to became a “pig daddy”. In a matter of a few years, Samten Dondrup’s business grew from a cooperative of just 4 piglets to a family farm of over 100 pigs. In recent years, thanks to favorable natural conditions and green farming, his Tibetan pigs are warmly received by the market. A pig can sell for around 3000 yuan. Over the course of a year, Samten Dondrup can make over 100,000 yuan from his farm. 

Seizing the Opportunity to Start a Pig Farm

In the depths of winter, the reporter visited the pig farm in Ladong Village, Medrogungkar County. Answering Samten Dondrup’s whistle, black piglets ran out of the hog house with their tails up, gobbling the corn down. Self-proclaimed “pig daddy” Samten Dondrup said, “these cuties are so full of energy every day. They are always having a good time. So adorable!”

Samten Dondrup told the reporter that Tibetan pigs are usually highly priced because of their strong disease resistance, tolerance of a coarse diet, and ability to survive in the wild. The reporter found that Ladong Village, located by the mountains and near a river, has a superior environment well-suited for the breeding of Tibetan pigs. Pigs from here are highly popular on the market.

In 2014, after graduating junior high, Samten Dondrup found himself jobless at home. “I was anxious every day then, not knowing what to do. The thought of going to Lhasa to try my luck, or just staying home farming, both entered my mind,” Later, by coincidence, Samten Dondrup was given some information on Tibetan pigs. Taking account of the ample idle land in his hometown, he began pondering the idea of opening a pig farm. Endowed with the fearless spirit of the the post-90 generation, Samten Dondrup decided to put all of his savings into a farming cooperative after talks with the village committee and multiple inspections on the proposed site.

Studying Farming and Caring For Piglets 

On the day when his farm welcomed the first litter of Tibetan pigs,Samten Dondrup worked all day in the hog house. Looking at these piglets in front of him, he was filled with immense joy, and he had even sketched out plans to expand production scale: “Next, we will add another 100 pigs, the plan is to take the number to 200 by the end of next year.”

Once the piglets were here, how to raise them was the first challenge Samten Dondrup was faced with. To tackle this issue, Samten Dondrup devoted himself to the growth of the piglets, provided them with a well-balanced diet, and studied pig farming with every change he got. Hard work pays off. In winter of 2015, the farm welcomed the first group of newborns. For Samten Dondrup, this was a memorable moment. But problems soon arose: without any knowledge in farrowing, Samten Dondrup panicked. He ran around like a busy bee, stayed awake for the whole night monitoring the sow constantly.

On that day, Samten Dondrup spent the whole day in the hog house watching over the sow. By dusk, 9 piglets were born safe and well. Newborn piglets are susceptible to cold stress. To keep the hog house warm, Samten Dondrup lit a fire, and put several quilts on top of the straw mats. One day, two days, three days...Like this, every piglet made it through the harsh winter in warmth. Recalling that day, Samten Dondrup said, “it was a chilly day. I was so afraid that the piglets would succumb to the cold, so I stayed in the hog house the whole time trying to warm them. Luckily, they all survived that winter in the end.”

Helping Villagers to Increase Income 

Under meticulous management by Samten Dondrup, his farm business began to pick up. It has been profitable for the past two years. “After several years of hard work, the production has been steadily expanding, orders have been grown. Last year, the number of slaughtered pigs fell short of the demand from surrounding villages. Therefore, I have brought in more pigs this year, not only to fulfill the local orders but also to meet the demand from the Lhasa market during winter. Next year I plan to expand production, open new sales channels throughout the autonomous region, so more consumers can enjoy authentic Tibetan pork.” Speaking of his future plans, Samten Dondrup beamed with confidence. Winter is the best season for slaughter. Samten Dondrup has long made preparations for this year’s orders. To expand production, Samten Dondrup built a new hog house this August and brought in another drove of piglets. Meanwhile, to maintain high quality of his Tibetan pigs, he advocated sustainable farming and planted 220 mu (14.67 hectares) of corn in his own farmland as feed for the pigs.

“Samten Dondrup’s pig farm created a significant number of jobs for his fellow villagers. They no longer have to go to Lhasa for odd jobs. The village committee hopes that Samten Dondrup could inspire more villagers to join the industry and learn farming technologies, to boost their income and achieve prosperity.” Lasang, chairman of the village committee, told the reporter. In 2021, Samten Dondrup provided assistance to 9 economically disadvantaged families in the village. In the future, he wishes to continue to shoulder this responsibility, help pig farming thrive in Ladong Village, and contribute to the development of agriculture and animal husbandry in Medrogungkar County.

The sun was setting, Samten Dondrup began cleaning the hog house and preparing for the feed for the next day. With his care, his piglets are growing up healthily...


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